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Thursday, February 22, 2018

“Telegony is theoretically possible”: an unexpected review of the academic

What a real man does not dream about the offspring, flesh of my flesh, blood of our blood… However, neglect the old-fashioned principle – to take to wife a virgin may result to the Pope that the child with his DNA, and will inherit a side genetic characteristics of another uncle, who preserved the body of his mother from a previous marriage, even before their conception. So says today the theory of telegony, it is very controversial, commitment to which one provincial journalist was reproached our new Ombudsman Anna Kuznetsov. “MK” has decided to find out the opinion of a scientist on this account, but since the sharp denial of the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, which in the beginning of the last century advocated the disgraced geneticist Lysenko, a lot has happened… In the end of XX century began to actively develop a new direction in genetics — epigenetics, which at first sight intersects with the controversial theory of telegony.

photo: pixabay.com

With a dangerous question: “What do you think about telegony?” we asked the head of laboratory, Institute of molecular biology. Engelgart of RAS, doctor of biological Sciences Nicholas CHURIKOVA.

– Theories about the impact of acquired characteristics to future generations (to be treated and telegonia) existed from the time of Aristotle, and only in the early XX century, with the discovery of chromosomal heredity, predicted American scientists, Cytology by Walter Seton and geneticist Thomas Morgan, in all the previous theories, for example on the theory of Lamarckism (about the influence of the environment on genetic traits) and on the same telegonia was officially forgotten. The conclusion was clear for everybody: only the father transmits to the child all its characteristics via DNA, chromosomes, and anything else can’t be. By the way, now the world scientific community is not so clearly applies to this issue, that’s for sure.

– When there was a crisis in views?

– At the end of the last century, when the first idea what is epigenetics (“EPI” in Greek “on”). This section of modern biology, which explains heredity not related to the sequence of nucleotides in DNA. The term epigenetics have suggested a prominent English geneticist Conrad Waddington in hull in 1947.

Of course DNA is genes, the carriers of information, but not the only one. DNA, as a bare sheet of paper, something to write, to introduce into it any chemical group, and it may make some genes are not active, “off” them. That is, DNA remains the same, and some genes in it stops. There are complex protein complexes, mechanisms that can make such marks, changing the expression level of the gene.

-Can you give an example of such influence?

– A lot of them. Epigenetic effects can affect the nervous reactions, and responses… a simple example is a mouse-vole. Born in autumn have a thicker coat than the spring mice, and this despite the fact that in utero they are alike. Genetics investigated this phenomenon and came to the conclusion that the length of wool autumn has changed under the influence of a higher concentration of melatonin in the blood. About epigenetics and the inheritance of acquired characteristics in his time, it was stated at the Symposium in Boston in 2011, organized by the authoritative journal Cell.

– And when we talk about telegonia…

– I was interested in this issue, read about the examples, in particular about the case, persecutory Charles Darwin about a Zebra that is born out of two Arabian horses. To be honest, he did not convince me, because I admit the fact of fraud. But with the advent of epigenetics, it became clear that there are mechanisms of information transfer which is not contained in the nucleotide sequence of DNA. This allows to say that not excluded this mechanism that affect genes true biological father, the “writer” half of the chromosomes. So, on the outward signs of newborn sabrinka could influence small RNA preserved in the body of the Mare after physical intimacy with a male Zebra to her mating with an Arabian stallion.

– I can explain that such small RNA?

Are molecules that exist in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm, and affect expression (activity) of genes in the chromosomes. However, in addition to native RNA can do it, and alien, which theoretically could survive in the genital tract of a woman and could even be transferred into the cells of the embryonic path. We and other researchers have conducted a lot of experiments, by acting on the chromosomes of synthetic RNA, we were able to “turn off” thus any gene in the DNA.

These and similar events have defined the program is to develop future organism, which characteristics the main DNA will manifest and which will diminish. And such epigenetic marks can be inherited in several generations.

– So, the telegonia effect can be explained by the influence of such small molecules that remain in a woman’s body?

– Strictly speaking, such a mechanism without verification can not be excluded. If it exists, we don’t know with what frequency might be epigenetic events. This can hinder the testing of the hypothesis of telegony. Some of the factors affecting development are transmitted with semen all in its composition, including the sperm themselves and their small RNA. Will not give their quantitative evaluation, but I can say that when an active sex life with different partners in the genital tract women formed such a large amount of DNA and small RNA, which we in the experiments do not even use, but got very strong effects. As a scientist, I have to say it. The position of a true scientist is to deny something only on the basis of careful study. Until then, until we get the facts convincingly denying epigenetic mechanisms of telegony, it is theoretically possible. While from the point of view of epigenetics it is not checked. From the point of view of genetics it has long been excluded. It is appropriate to recall that for many years denied the very possibility of inheritance of acquired characters. Now it is believed that these events were not uncommon, and plants are observed very often.

– How long can persist RNA partners in a woman’s body and why?

-We know nothing about the timing of their life in a woman’s body. And they are tenacious due to their small size. Enzymes that destroy RNA, simply are unable to seize them, they seem to slip them between the teeth.”

-Is there a way to test before conceiving the child, the woman’s body small RNA from a previous husband?

– Of course. Let’s imagine the experience on the animal, for example, on mice. You can get a male with a bright genetic a biography, that is with characteristic genetic traits that are inherited epigeneticist. For example, with the same long hair. Pairing him with a young, soon entered the Mature period of the female, and then offer this female with another male. Epigenetically if a sign is repeated in the second mouse “marriage”, means the assumption about the existence of telegony is true.

– When the fact of telegony, there may be later, and possible laboratory analysis before the baby is born?

-Far effect of the previous relations of women to define is also possible, but this would require allocations of the RNA molecules of the previous partners from the genital tract, their deep sequencing (decryption).

DNA is the hard drive, and epigenetics is soft, soft genetics, software of our genetic status. That, according to Nikolay Churikov, needs more careful study, in order to eliminate or justify the theory of telegony.

Review of the Deputy Director for science of the Institute of molecular genetics Vyacheslav TARANTULA:

-Experimentally proven that telegony exists, no one described the fact that it would be confirmed. Now there are people who believe that AIDS is not, and Einstein’s theory is not correct… If it appears somewhere work, confirming telegonia, then perhaps it would have sounded loud. As for the theory of inheritance of acquired characters, in recent years there have been several publications about this… In one article, for example, describes the history of the Scots, once survived the famine, and that then it somehow affected their descendants. Such studies are still very few, I would call them only hints at the existence of the possibility of inheritance of any acquired characters. To telegony, it can’t have a relationship because there is no evidence that the genetic material may persist in the female body for a long time and it is unlikely that it can be transmitted from mother to child by inheritance. In any case, while direct studies, we can’t talk about telegony as a serious scientific theory.


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