Interesting talk about genetics/heredity with friend
He said that a lot of factors (of yourself) at the time of conception, affect your baby's future health--namely your own fitness level. Is this true? I've never heard such a thing before... He said the more fit you are (and conversely, the more unfit you are), the more chance that characteristic is to be passed to your future baby (so, he says, you should be in shape if you want to better ensure your baby to also have that quality). Not to say you're to produce the next Lebron, or that you can reverse genetics... just that you basically can affect (improve) your baby's genetics (even a little bit) by your own physical (and I suppose mental) health at the time.
I was a genetics major in college and I never heard such a thing. That sounds more like the giraffe analogy. A giraffe doesn't pass its long neck to its children because it stretches it throughout its lifetime. So no I don't think your friend is correct.
Fit people are more likely to have fit children because of lifestyle. I would accredit some things to genetics, but I'd say most of it is lifestyle. I'm fit but I think it's because my mom taught me how to eat properly and exercise daily. Not because she gave me special genes.
I will tell you I had to have my gall bladder out and so have many of my other female fam members... older and one younger. I asked my surgeon he said it is not genetics per se (meaning our gall bladders were defective). He said is about the habits we learn and what we learn to eat from our family members. He said just because you gma had hers out doesn't mean you'll have yours, but chances are higher because she taught your mom how to cook and so on down the line.
I think it would be more accurate to say that the health of the mother during her pregnancy can adversely or positively affect the development the child.
It is well known of course that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can hinder brain development.
An unhealthy unfit mother may have a lack of nutrients that may affect the development of her child.
Since what you mention (above) is generally accepted, then wouldn't other "cellular" effects also be at play? If you were to (as a man) have a kid when you were 18 years old, would the "genetics" that you pass on be exactly the same as a (e.g.) 65 year old? Logic would seem to say that your physical quality (for lack of a better word) would be as a younger man. Nothing stays the same... why would something like (trying not to be too graphic) your genetics be any different?
There are environmental as well as genetic factors that affect offspring. It can be debated but I consider fitness an environmental factor. It is something you can control reasonably. As to the discussion about a males age, genetically speaking it doesnt matter because a male produces new sperm continuously with the same DNA. In the female, offspring can be affected by the mothers age because she is born with all the eggs that she will produce in a lifetime. Therefore the older she.is, the higher the risk of genetic mutations.
With that said, there are obvious environmental factors that can affect /alter fertility and offspring. Most of then things we know about are medications, drug and alcohol use, etc..
It's worth pointing out, though, that men produce prodigious quantities of sperm, which means the DNA involved is being copied and copied and copied and copied, which in turn increases the possibility of copying errors being introduced; these tend to increase over time, and paternal age has been implicated along with maternal age in the incidence of autism, among other things.
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