Eggs and seeds transmit genetic information from one generation to another. Genetic information is the design of a functional offspring. Most of this information is encoded in DNA and can not be changed by experiences like changes in the environment. However, recently, it has been shown that certain effects of different lifestyles or the environment can be transmitted by parents to the offspring via semen and eggs.
A new study by Per Stenberg, Umeå's researcher, shows that intestinal bacteria, which are also commonly spread across generations, can transmit information about the environments to which the parents have been exposed.
Bacteria of the gut are transmitted between generations
Already in the health care sector, the transfer of intestinal bacteria from donors to patients is used to treat various stomach problems. In some cases, it has been observed that the patient has undesirable features from the donor, such as overweight. We also know that bacteria living in our intestinal tract are usually transmitted from one generation to the next.
"By combining this knowledge with previous scientific studies that have shown that the effects of parenting can be transmitted to the offspring, we began to suspect that bacteria can transfer information about past experiences from generation to generation," says Per Stenberg , Department of Ecology, Environment and Geosciences at Umeå University.
Inflatable banana flies
The pioneering findings are derived from model body studies. In this case, the banana flies. Per Stenberg and his research team allowed them to fly bananas at two different temperatures and study how offspring were affected. All progeny were allowed to grow at one and the same temperature. By controlling from which parents the offspring gained their heritage and intestinal bacteria, they were able to separate the results transmitted through sperm and eggs from the effects transmitted through the intestinal bacteria.
"Although the results were not entirely unexpected, I and my colleagues, Aman Zare and Anna-Mia Johansson, were very excited when we got our first results," says Per Stenberg.
The new roots are published in the journal FEBS, describing an entirely new way of inheriting the properties next to eggs and sperm.
The intestinal microbicide participates in transgenic heritage or low temperature reactions in Drosophila melanogaster. (Zare, A., Johansson, A.M., Karlsson, E., Delkomme, N., Stemberg, P.) FEBS letters
Per Stenberg, Researcher at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Geosciences, Umeå University, [email protected]