DEC 06, 2015 07:47 AM PST

Sperm Carry Obesity Epigenetic Marks

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Before and during pregnancy, the onus has been heavily on the woman to be healthy - no drinking, smoking, drug use, etc. - because her health affects the health of the baby. But men are not off the hook, as a new study says that a man's health is reflected in his sperm.

The study found that sperm carry genetic information as well as epigenetic information. Lean and obese men have sperm that possess different epigenetic marks, notably at genes associated with appetite control. This may offer a biological explanation of predisposition to obesity in children of obese fathers.

Additionally, in men that underwent weight-loss surgery, researchers identified an average of 5,000 structural changes in sperm DNA before and after surgery. It's not definitive what this all means, but it's clear that sperm carry much more than just a man's DNA, as previously thought.

We've known that obesity affects the fertility of sperm, and this study highlights yet another connection between a father and his offspring. The results of this study imply that men should also follow the health recommendations given to women when trying to conceive a baby.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 22, 2019
Just How Reusable is SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket?
  SpaceX originally designed its acclaimed Falcon 9 rocket to be a reusable rocket platform. With literally dozens of Falcon 9 rocket launches and lan...
OCT 22, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 22, 2019
How Much Caffeine Can Trigger a Migraine?
Do you suffer from migraines? Your caffeine intake may be a trigger. Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Brigham and Women&r...
OCT 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 22, 2019
How is NASA's InSight Mission on Mars Doing?
NASA’s InSight mission officially landed on Mars last November, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the media hyped this mission’s purpose on the red p...
OCT 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 22, 2019
All About NASA's Upcoming Plan to Explore Europa
Planetary scientists have been in search of potentially habitable worlds for years, and perhaps one of the most promising places we have yet to explore in...
OCT 22, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 22, 2019
How Large Solar Storms Can Impact Earth's Power Grid
The Sun is a powerful ball of energy, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that it can sometimes become unstable. Over time, the...
OCT 22, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 22, 2019
What do a Wing Nut and a Tennis Racket Have in Common?
In 1985 during a mission to rescue the space station Salyut-7, Soviet astronaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov observed something rather strange. A free-flowing wing...
Loading Comments...