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Gene. 2013 Jul 25;524(2):414-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2013.03.061. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Fetal genes in mother's blood: a novel mechanism for telegony?


Telegony is a discredited genetic phenomenon that a previous male may influence the characteristics of offspring subsequently borne by the same female to another male. Although its reality was acknowledged by such authorities as Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, it has been met with skepticism because of a lack of understanding of the theoretical basis for telegony. With the discovery of fetal genes in mother's blood, the penetration of somatic cells by sperm, and the ability of RNA to program genome rearrangement, mechanisms might exist for telegony.

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