Research has shown that the health implications of a man's alcohol use, tobacco exposure and other behaviors can affect the health and development of offspring, even before conception. Numerous studies have indicated that a child's health may be affected by the environment and life behaviors of their father.Sarah Kimmins, of the Department of Animal Science at McGill University in Canada, notes that scientists know very little about what drives this association. Sarah Kimmins investigated whether proteins called histones - a component of sperm that is transmitted during fertilization - play a role in heritability.
Sarah Kimmins and her team created mice in which the biochemical information on the histones was modified during the formation of sperm - a process that can occur with certain environmental exposures. The team then went on to analyze the development and survival of two generations of offspring. The team found that the offspring were not only prone to birth defects, but also they had abnormal skeletal formation and reduced survival. More importantly, these affects were seen across two generations. These findings suggest that something other than DNA - the alteration of histones - play a role in the health and development of offspring.
I found this article very interesting because I had always thought DNA was the main source of one's development. I had no idea histones could also play a part in development. This is only one study that suggests something other DNA plays a part in development, but there will be many more that will get the same results. This article got me thinking about other genetic materials that could have a hand in development.
Link to article here