Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Thanks for the Stress, Dad

The effects of childhood violence may be passed down to the following generations by alterations in sperm, the Economist reports.

A Tufts University School of Medicine-led team sought to examine whether there are microRNA alterations within the sperm of men exposed to early violence. As they reported in Translational Psychiatry this week, Tuft's Larry Feig and his colleagues asked 28 Caucasian men about any childhood violence they experienced using a standardized questionnaire. The researchers then compared their scores to miRNA levels within sperm samples from the men. They found an inverse relationship between levels of miRNAs belonging to the miR-449/34 family and the men's scores.

The researchers reported a similar effect in male mice that experienced stress by being moved frequently to a new cage. Further, this effect was passed on to their offspring. As embryos, the researchers found that the mouse offspring, which exhibited more anxious behavior than usual, also had lower miRNA levels, as did the sperm of the male offspring upon maturity.

The Economist notes that the researchers haven't found that the miRNA causes this stress, but that it is suggestive and that Feig and his colleagues are planning additional studies.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.