London: Unhealthy diet of overweight fathers may cause certain changes in sperms, which may lead to metabolic disorders in their children and make them more vulnerable to obesity, a new study has revealed.
Researchers from University of Adelaide, Australia conducted the study on mice and found that the rodents brought up on poor diet have offsprings that are inclined towards insulin resistance.
The findings suggested that epigenetic changes are prevalent in certain regions of sperm cells.
Delving further into the details, the team including Maria Ohlsson Teague and Michelle Lane, monitored mouse sperm for tiny bits of genetic material that switch off protein production.
They identified 21 of these microRNAs that were expressed differently in the sperm of mice fed on a high fat diet compared with those on a healthy diet, New Scientist reported.
A database of known microRNAs was used to envisage the outcome of the altered markers. The top biological networks, which had greater chances of being affected, were linked with embryo and sperm development, and metabolic disorders.
Teague asserted that large quantities of fat around the testes of obese mice ‘could alter the environment and encourage epigenetic changes’.
She also said that in future, it might be feasible to screen sperm during IVF or block unwanted epigenetic changes with drug therapy.
“We prefer to encourage healthy lifestyles,” she added.