The next time someone tells you how much you take after your mom, further incarcerating you in the inevitable truth that you are becoming your mother, you can now take solace in telling them that, technically, at a genetic level, that’s probably not true. OKAY?! I’M NOT JUST LIKE HER! I AM MY OWN WOMAN, DAMMIT.
While mammals get equal amounts of genetic mutations from each parent, we seem to "use" more DNA inherited from our fathers, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Genetics. The study involved mice, but researchers believe the findings apply to humans, too.
In the study, a team of researchers from UNC School of Medicine bred nine different types of hybrid mice from three “genetically diverse inbred strains of mice,” whose ancestors all evolved on different continents. (For those of you wondering where these mice came from, UNC has this thing called the Collaborative Cross. Despite sounding like a Christian blogging platform, it’s actually the world’s most genetically diverse mouse population with genetic variety rivaling that of humans. Now you know!)
When the mice matured, the researchers analyzed gene expression—including sequencing in the brain—and quantified how much DNA came from each mouse’s mother and how much came from the father.
"We found that the vast majority of genes—about 80 percent—possessed variants that altered gene expression," said James Crowley, one of the authors of the paper and assistant professor of genetics. "And this was when we discovered a new, genome-wide expression imbalance in favor of the dad in several hundred genes. This imbalance resulted in offspring whose brain gene expression was significantly more like their father's."
This, of course, is exciting news for those studying the genetics of diseases like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, schizophrenia, obesity, and cancers. And while it’s also exciting news for women who worry they’re too much like their mothers, um, sorry to all the dudes who are trying not to become their fathers.