But… what about Dad’s who are heavier than they should be ?
On paper at least, it really shouldn’t make too much difference – as long as one little sperm gets it right and finds the egg princess, magic should happen. Granted, heavier Dads are more likely to run into sperm quality/quantity troubles, which can hinder the “getting” pregnant part.
But after that magic moment…….. it is all about Mom and the environment she creates.
Well not so fast.
Fat Dad’s are different
Not just on the outside, but on the inside too.
Obesity is characterized by changes in body chemistry. One of the genes which is altered is the insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2) gene.
The gene itself is in perfect shape, so we not talking about Fat Dad’s being mutants.
The trouble is that the gene is not producing quite as much IGF-2 protein, the level of gene expression has changed. It is not broken, it’s just under the circumstances, the body does not need quite as much IGF-2 floating about, so the methylation pattern is adjusted to decrease production.
The dialled down version of the gene, churns out significantly smaller amounts of the growth factor, which then acts as a growth factor and regulates a host of cellular activities.
The gene is dialled down in cells around the body, including the sperm.
Unfortunately, the dialled down version of the gene, is associated with an increased of risk of cancer.
Snapshots of DNA
Researchers from Duke Cancer Institute, suspected babies formed from sperm carrying the dialled down version, might end up with a dialled down version of the gene.
This dialled down version could have the potential to cause future health troubles.
To test their idea, they looked at what was happening in this gene in 79 newborn babies.
The researchers mapped out the methylation pattern of DNA extracted from the umbilical cords of the newborns and then compared this with DNA from the baby’s Mom and Dad.
Sperm carrying a beastly mark
The DNA methylation patterns of newborns mirrored the pattern seen in their Dad.
- Kids whose Dad had a lower levels of IGF2 – had lower levels of IGF2.
- Kids whose Dad had normal levels of IGF2 – had normal levels of IGF2.
The pattern was being inherited.
The little ones whose Dad’s were overweight, were being “marked” with a genetic mark, which is associated with health troubles, especially ovarian and colon cancer.
Good genes not enough
This research suggests you not only need good genes, you need the good genes to be functioning optimally.
We already know the environment in which a baby develops counts, which is why pregnant women need to work hard to create a healthy environment in the womb by eating right and exercising. But, the environment in which sperm is manufactured counts too.
Need a little help creating better body chemistry ?
Enrol for our free e-course………………” 31 Days to Better Body Chemistry“Paternal obesity is associated with IGF2 hypomethylation in newborns: results from a Newborn Epigenetics Study (NEST) cohort. BMC Medicine (2013) 11:29. Adelheid Soubry, Joellen M Schildkraut, Amy Murtha, Frances Wang, Zhiqing Huang, Autumn Bernal, Joanne Kurtzberg, Randy L Jirtle, Susan K Murphy and Cathrine Hoyo.
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