New Study Sheds Light On How A Father's Health Affects His Offspring

One of the hardest tasks to attain is to have a good and reliable parenting style. There are occurrences of bad parenting that can have lasting consequences for your child. Therefore, the unhealthy lifestyle of a father can pass to his child, especially the ill effects. We may have plenty of evidence to think that unhealthy lifestyle of a father can be passed to his child, but sometimes, we might have less knowledge in such mechanisms.


According to a study which has been done using mice, it has shown a path for altering mouse sperm and leading to noticeable changes in the next generation. Therefore, this helps researches to identify epigenetic transmission in humans.

There are many things that can go wrong during a pregnancy, some which are avoidable but many that are not. Unfortunately, there are many things that can affect the baby’s health. However, there are myths that father’s pre-conception environment didn’t matter for a baby. According to IFLScience, environmental factors can modify the extent of a gene’s expression, a process known as epigenetics. Exposure to dangerous chemicals or a harmful diet can alter sperm, with consequences for subsequent generations.

According to Dr. Patrick Western of Australia’s Hudson Institute has examined the role of the PRC2 gene in this process and he has published his findings in BMC Biology. His main aim is to understand the effects of environmental factors, Western used a genetic mutation as a tool.

“Sperm only carries one copy of the genome,” he told IFLScience, but most of the way through development they have both. Right at the end, they go through meiosis and only have one copy.”

According to IFLScience, Some of the mouse sperm Western investigated started with a healthy PRC2 copy, along with a mutation, while others had no healthy copies. Even though the healthy version had been deleted by fertilization, it still left a legacy on the sperm, which was not seen in those that never had a normal PRC2 gene.

Mice born from fathers with no good PRC2 copies had certain genes turned on that would generally be turned off, and vice versa. Their growth are different rates from their counterparts. They seemed ordinary when they are completely developed, but Western told IFLScience this may only have been because his team did not measure their metabolism or behavior.

“Now we’ve shown that PRC2-dependent epigenetic changes in sperm can be ‘inherited’ by offspring from their fathers, we can start to look at whether specific foods or chemicals might positively or negatively affect PRC2 function and therefore development in children,” Western said Via a mail.

Eventually, this understanding may lead to methods to interrupt the transmission of adverse traits

PRC2 is not the only way in where ill health can transmit from father to child, it does not affect by a specific lifestyle. But other epigenetically influenced genes may well be.

“When thinking of starting or adding to their family, both mum and dad should try to be as healthy as possible,” Western said.

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