As a guy, you presumably know all about your sperm (and can spare everyone the details), but guess what? Your sperm knows all about you, too. Specifically, it knows if you’re fat or skinny, and it’s going tell your unborn kid. Actually, it’s going to do more than tell them; it’s going to hardcode it into them.
That’s the takeaway of a new epigenetics study out Cambridge, which looked at the sperm of 13 lean guys and 10 fat ones. The researchers found over 9,000 genes in their sperm that differed based on their weight, and then 6 of the fat guys underwent gastric bypass surgery. Just a week after surgery, 1,500 of the genes in their sperm reflected their new lower weight, which indicates that your genes can change about as quickly as a toddler’s mood. But they’re not just changing, they’re being delivered straight up your partner’s babymaker and into your kid’s DNA and will likely dictate to some degree how fat or skinny your offspring is.
To be fair, the study’s sample size is tiny, but it’s still raising eyebrows because epigenetics is one of the cool new kids in the scientific cafeteria. It’s the study of how environmental factors can change how your genes work, and it’s already been linked to things like how your grandfather’s partying habits mess with your health. So, you can choose to dismiss this as too speculative to bother with, or you can use it as one more reason to get your ass in shape.
If you do, your kid may one day thank you. Then again, your wife might not.