Epigenetic inheritance via sperm RNA

In 2013, NS faculty member, Brian Dias (at Yerkes) and Kerry Ressler (now at Harvard) described a surprising example of epigenetic inheritance.

In their study, they found that a mouse, exposed to a smell in combination with stress, could transmit the resulting sensitivity to that smell to its offspring. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of information about mechanism.

Now other scientists have substantiated a proposal that micro RNA in playing a role in sperm: “Sperm RNAs transmit stress” from Kate Yandell in The Scientist or "Male mice pass stress signatures down to their pups" from Rachel Zamzow at Spectrum, the Simons Foundation’s autism news site. An added wrinkle is that this research shows that descendants of stress-exposed mice show a muted response to stress.

Click here to view the full story in Lab Land, the Emory Health Sciences Research Blog.