It is somewhat intuitive to understand how a mother’s diet during pregnancy can influence the health of her offspring. But can a father’s diet also affect the health of his children?
Until recently, sperm were essentially thought of as a vehicle – their only job being to deliver the male DNA to the egg. It was assumed that sperm quality influences fertilization success, but that only a male’s genes could influence his offspring. My research challenges this assumption, using sea squirts and flies to empirically demonstrate that a male’s environment influences the quality of his sperm, and that sperm quality influences the viability and physical features of offspring.