A research published online in The FASEB Journal suggests that sperm of overweight dads can lead to obesity and diabetes-like symptoms in two generations of offspring. They have identified that molecular signals in the sperm of obese fathers can increase the risk of both their children and their grandchildren inheriting obesity, even though they are eating healthily.
The lead author of the paper, Dr Tod Fullston said that a father's diet changes the molecular makeup of the sperm. With obese fathers, the changes in their sperm - in their microRNA molecules - might program the embryo for obesity or metabolic disease later in life. For female offspring, there is an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. Moreover, they found that there is an increased chance of both male and female offspring developing metabolic disease similar to type 2 diabetes.
The study also extended into the second generation of progeny, which showed signs of similar metabolic disorders, including obesity, although it was not as severe as the first generation.
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