Embryos Receive Parent-Specific Layers of Information

in science on (#2THX)
story imageFollowing up on last week's article about offspring and mothers' previous sexual partners (in insects, anyway), new research now sheds some additional light on the multi-layered process of how a sperm and egg pass along information needed for successful reproduction.

As described in an article published in the journal PLOS Genetics:
Though one layer is the DNA code that is transferred, the new study identifies information not encoded by DNA, a so-called “epigenetic” layer of information that helps the cell interpret the genetic code.
In insects this additional “epigenetic” layer of information apparently can come from a previous mate. The question if such or similar mechanisms can also exist in higher organisms, e.g. also in humans, might be far fetched, but not that far, that it precludes a more thorough research. Clearly, there are still plenty of unknown factors in human and non-human reproduction: an area ripe for further research.

Fascinating (Score: 1)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2014-10-21 14:38 (#2TJ8)

I've been paying closer attention to other fields of science recently, and wasn't aware of any of this stuff, so I find it endlessly fascinating. Every generation, I think, is willing to laugh at the false theories that previous generations accepted as fact before eventually finding there was a better explanation, without taking the time to wonder how many of their "facts" will eventually be overturned by future scientists looking for more accurate explanations.

That this stuff is happening - in the USA, at least - despite a culture increasingly hostile to the "educated elite" and whatever other impolite names the likes of Sarah Palin came up with for people who like science - is even more fascinating. Kudos to the boffins!
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