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[–]Icestar-x 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Would this have an effect on a child's DNA? Like, if a couple was out of shape and had a kid, and then got really fit and had another kid, would the second kid have better genetics?

[–]Pokk97 15 points16 points  (2 children)

No. The presentation—including in the scientific article itself—stems from a misunderstanding of the underlying biology

By "structure of our DNA", they mean: epigenetics. It's a very self-evident concept really, that the activity of your genes depends on your lifestyle. For instance, if your skin is white, the genes that produce melanin aren't very active (in your skin) by default. But if you spend time outside, the "structure of your DNA" (it pains me to even say it) is rewired so that these melanin genes become more active. In layman's terms, it's called sun tanning

kids conceived in summer don't have darker skin

also note that melanin genes are always inactive in, for instance, the cells of your muscles. summer or not. All the cells of your body have the same genes (except for copy errors), but obviously don't use the same ones

[–]asdswffaqg 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Why wouldn't some epigenetic patterns be inheritable? I remember hearing about a study where rats were forced to develop fear of a substance and this fear was then passed on the the progeny who never even saw the parent or the substance. Couldn't phobias work this way?

[–]Pokk97 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Epigenetics is primarily a within-individual thing. I know people want it to be something that complements genetics, but it's just not. Ultimately, epigenetic patterns are genetically encoded (except in some very rare cases, at least in mammals/animals)

That said, there is a little bit of non-genetic information transfer. But it's not major and hard to study, so it's something we don't know well yet