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Chinese scientists unveil sperm inheritance findings


18:24, May 10, 2013

BEIJING, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have revealed that the DNA methylome of sperm, not oocytes, will be inherited by offspring, according to a thesis published in the latest edition of Cell.

The discovery was made by a team led by researcher Liu Jiang and associate researcher Ci Weimin from the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Their findings were published in leading international academic journal Cell on Friday.

The research team conducted experiments on zebrafish, which have 85 percent genetic similarity to human beings. They found that that sperm DNA methylome, as well as parental DNA, are inherited by zebrafish embryos and can guide embryonic development.

The results have subverted the previous theory that the maternal methylation pattern is maintained throughout early embryogenesis, Liu said.

Liu said the research will help provide a theoretical foundation for medical development, generate new theories for the treatment of some diseases and improve reproductive technologies

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