Mother’s touch lingers in her child’s genes

Mothers leave their mark on their children in many ways – and researchers have discovered a protein called SMCHD1 is involved in this ‘imprinting’ process. SMCHD1 switches certain genes off, altering how a cell behaves. The new research has revealed that when an egg cell (or oocyte) is fertilized by a sperm, the egg cell’s SMCHD1 lingers within the developing embryo, switching off at least 10 different genes and impacting the embryo’s development – which could potentially have a lifelong impact on the offspring.


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