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Epigenetics: Obese men’s sperm show modified genes?

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Thousands of them, some say.

Well, that’ll scare some guys onto the track.

From From New Scientist:

“Our results suggest that environmentally driven changes carried in sperm cells could represent a mechanism by which obesity is transmitted to the next generation,” says Romain Barrès of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He suggests his findings might lead parents-to-be to consider changing their behaviour before conceiving.

We already know that a child’s weight seems to be highly linked to that of their parents. So far, much research into how obesity is passed on has focused on mothers and their diet before or during pregnancy. But the new study suggests that the father’s health may also be important.

Comparing the sperm of 13 lean and 10 moderately obese men, Barrès and his team have found striking differences in their epigenomes – the marks on DNA that affect how active different genes are. “We found around 9000 genes epigenetically changed in obese men,” says Barrès. More.

Lot of research potential, in an ever fattening world:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of . . . love handles. One billion humans worldwide are, by WHO’s reckoning, “overweight,” and of these sinners, 300 million are “obese.” The increased consumption of high-calorie food, especially in developing countries, is the disease’s vector.

It will be interesting to see if the change carries over to the sons of obese men, even if the former are not obese.

See also: Whoooo!!! Epigenetic ghosts in the genome?


Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted
in the conference room!

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I don't need to look at my sperm to know if I am obese. Mung

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