Mammals are genetically more like their fathers, revealed a new research at UNC School of Medicine. The study findings suggest that although we inherit equal amounts of genetic mutations from our parents, we actually use more of the DNA that we inherit from our dads. The findings have wide implications for the study of human disease, especially when using mammalian research models.
The UNC research also shows that inheriting a mutation has different consequences in mammals, depending on whether the genetic variant is inherited from the mother or father. These genetic mutations that are handed over from parents to their offspring show up in many common but complex diseases that involve many genes, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, schizophrenia, obesity, and cancers.
Senior author Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena said, "This is an exceptional new research finding that opens the door to an entirely new area of exploration in human genetics. We've known that there are 95 genes that are subject to this parent-of-origin effect. They're called imprinted genes, and they can play roles in diseases, depending on whether the genetic mutation came from the father or the mother. Now we've found that in addition to them, there are thousands of other genes that have a novel parent-of-origin effect. These types of genetic mutations across hundreds of genes are hard to study and a major bottleneck to realizing the promises of the post-genome era, but thanks to the Collaborative Cross, the mouse can be used to model how these genes work and how they impact health and disease in any kind of tissue in the body."
The study appears in the journal Nature Genetics.