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Parental Programming of Offspring Health: The Intricate Interplay between Diet, Environment, Reproduction and Development

Batra, Vipul; Norman, Emily; Morgan, Hannah L.; Watkins, Adam J.


Emily Norman


As adults, our health can be influenced by a range of lifestyle and environmental factors, increasing the risk for developing a series of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Over the past few decades, our understanding of how our adult health can be shaped by events occurring before birth has developed into a well-supported concept, the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Supported by epidemiological data and experimental studies, specific mechanisms have been defined linking environmental perturbations, disrupted fetal and neonatal development and adult ill-health. Originally, such studies focused on the significance of poor maternal health during pregnancy. However, the role of the father in directing the development and well-being of his offspring has come into recent focus. Whereas these studies identify the individual role of each parent in shaping the long-term health of their offspring, few studies have explored the combined influences of both parents on offspring well-being. Such understanding is necessary as parental influences on offspring development extend beyond the direct genetic contributions from the sperm and oocyte. This article reviews our current understanding of the parental contribution to offspring health, exploring some of the mechanisms linking parental well-being with gamete quality, embryo development and offspring health.


Batra, V., Norman, E., Morgan, H. L., & Watkins, A. J. (2022). Parental Programming of Offspring Health: The Intricate Interplay between Diet, Environment, Reproduction and Development. Biomolecules, 12(9), Article 1289.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Sep 9, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 13, 2022
Publication Date 2022-09
Deposit Date Nov 25, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 25, 2022
Journal Biomolecules
Electronic ISSN 2218-273X
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 9
Article Number 1289
Keywords Molecular Biology; Biochemistry
Public URL
Publisher URL


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