Did you know that a woman’s previous sex partners can impact a woman’s offspring? Yes! you heard it right. Recent research has confirmed this although this theory dates to ancient Greece, where it was an accepted fact. However, genetics theory in the 20th century disregarded this until now.
Recently, scientists at the University of New South Wales discovered a new form of non-genetic inheritance and have shown for the first time that physical traits of previous sex partners can be passed on to future children.
According to the researchers, the effect is because molecules in the seminal fluid of the first male mate are absorbed by the immature eggs of the female which then influences the development of the second male’s offspring.
The lead study author, Angela Crean was quoted as saying:
“Our discovery complicates our entire view of how variation is transmitted across generations. It also opens exciting new possibilities and avenues of research”
To reach this conclusion, Crean and colleagues Anna Kopps and Professor Russell Bonduriansky manipulated the size of male flies and then studied their offspring. They found that the size of the young was determined by the size of the first male their mothers had mated with and not the second male who was their biological father.
Crean further explained:
“We found that even though the second male sired the offspring, offspring size was determined by what the mother’s previous mating partner ate as a maggot.”
The researchers noted that various non-genetic inheritance mechanisms make it possible for maternal or paternal environmental factors to influence the characteristics or traits of a child. The study, which has been published in the journal Ecology Letters, has raised many questions about the transmission of certain traits.
In another similar publication, a new study found that a woman carries living DNA from all the men she has ever had a sexual relationship with. The startling discovery was made by researchers at the University of Seattle and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre. The discovery was made by accident when the team was initially attempting to find out if pregnant women with a son are more susceptible to neurological diseases that men are more vulnerable to.
The study began to take a turn when scientists dived deep into the female brain. They discovered the woman’s brain possessed male DNA known as male microchimerism (Microchimerism is defined by the presence of circulating cells, bidirectionally transferred from one genetically distinct individual to another.). These cells are different from that of the cells that make up a woman.
According to the study:
“63% of the females (37 of 59) tested harbored male microchimerism and in many part of the brain”
Now, do not be confused by your father’s DNA. Your DNA is unique because he and your mother combine to make you.
At first, researchers thought that the male DNA found in the female brain came from carrying a male while pregnant. But, that was not true. Why? On closer inspection, male DNA cells were still prevalent in the brains of women who had never even been pregnant.
Scientists say there are only four ways male DNA cells are likely to show up in the female brain:
* Unknown abortion
* Possibly a vanished male twin
* Older brother transferred by the maternal circulation
* Sexual intercourse
Finding a man’s DNA in a woman’s brain from the first three sources applies to only a small percentage of women. The only likely option researchers could account for in the study of 63% of women who had it was through sexual intercourse.
The implications for women are great. When sperm enters a woman, it swims until it hits a wall and then seeps into her flesh. If it is in your mouth, it can get into your nasal areas, behind your eyes, and even your inner ear. It then enters your bloodstream and collects in your brain and spine. You can never get rid of it.
With every man a woman has a sexual relationship with; she absorbs his spermatozoa which becomes a part of you forever. The study autopsied the brain of elderly women, many of whom have been carrying male DNA for more than 50 years. This startling and fascinating discovery is only the beginning of understanding the true consequences of sexual intercourse.
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