The transfer of genetic information from a parent to their offspring via deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is fundamental for the survival of a species. Evidence is emerging that epigenetic information – information independent of underlying DNA sequence – can also be transmitted to offspring and that parental environment can alter epigenetic information and influence the characteristics of future generations. Dr Upasna Sharma’s work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School discovered a previously undescribed mode of epigenetic inheritance in sperm, and provides evidence that paternal diet can influence the descendants’ metabolic state via epigenetic mechanisms.
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