Sperm May Show If a Man’s Offspring Will Be Born With Autism

Sperm May Show If a Man’s Offspring Will Be Born With Autism

For the investigation, researchers looked at sperm epigenetics—the molecular processes that affect gene expression—in 13 men who fathered sons with autism and 13 who had children without the disorder. Researchers identified 805 different DNA methylation regions that could serve as epigenetic biomarkers associated with whether a man might father a child with autism. Researchers tested their theory by trying to pinpoint dads who did or did not reproduce children with autism based solely on their sperm samples. Skinner said further research of the biomarkers could also help scientists trace how epigenetic changes initially happened. “We found out years ago that environmental factors can alter the germline, the sperm or the egg, epigenetics,” Skinner said.

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