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Reprod Domest Anim. 2011 Apr;46(2):338-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0531.2010.01672.x.

Telegony, the sire effect and non-mendelian inheritance mediated by spermatozoa: a historical overview and modern mechanistic speculations.

Author information

1
Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Xinxiang, China. ysliu63@yahoo.ca

Abstract

Telegony is the belief that the sire first mated to a female will have an influence upon some of that female's later offspring by another male. Although the reality of telegony was acknowledged by such authorities as Darwin, Spencer, Romanes and many experienced breeders, it has been met with scepticism because of Weismann's unfavourable comments and negative results obtained in several test experiments. In this article, alleged cases of telegony are provided. A search of the literature of cell biology and biochemistry reveals several plausible mechanisms that may form the basis for telegony. These involve the penetration of spermatozoa into the somatic tissues of the female genital tract, the incorporation of the DNA released by spermatozoa into maternal somatic cells, the presence of foetal DNA in maternal blood, as well as sperm RNA-mediated non-Mendelian inheritance of epigenetic changes.

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