Why we’re more like our fathers than our mothers: Scientists discover we ‘use’ more male inherited genes
- We inherit equal amounts of genetic mutations from both our parents
- But scientists found we ‘use’ more mutations from our father’s genes
- These gene mutations make us who we are and not another person
- Findings could help explain development of disease and find treatments
Many a woman fears at a certain point in life she is turning into her mother.
But new research has revealed that in terms of genetics, most people are actually more similar to their father.
Although we inherit equal amounts of genetic mutations from our parents, we actually ‘use’ more of the DNA that we inherit from our fathers, scientists found.
These genetic mutations make us who we are – and finding out whether we inherit variants from one parent or another is crucial for the development of diseases – and treatments to diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
The study’s lead author, Professor Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, from University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said the research was the first to show that mammals are more genetically similar to their fathers than mothers.
He said: ‘This is an exceptional new research finding that opens the door to an entirely new area of exploration in human genetics.’
‘We know there are 95 genes that are subject to this parent-of-origin effect.
‘They’re called imprinted genes, and they can play roles in diseases, depending on whether the genetic mutation came from the father or the mother.
‘Now we’ve found that in addition to them, there are thousands of other genes that have a novel parent-of-origin effect.’
These genetic mutations handed down from parents show up in many common but complex diseases that involve many genes, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, schizophrenia, obesity and cancers.
For the study, researchers selected three different species of mice with different genes.
They were descended from a sub-species of mice that evolved on different continents.
These mice were bred to create nine different types of offspring.
Each strain of these offspring was used as both a father and mother to another generation of mice.
When these mice reached adulthood, the researchers measured expression of genes in four different kinds of tissue.
This included including RNA sequencing technology, which is able to identify gene expression in the brain.
They then quantified how much genetic information was inherited from the mother and the father for every single gene in the mouse’s DNA.
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