Childhood obesity and diabetes are closely related to these conditions in either parent, but how the father contributes is unclear. A study in rats shows that normal females mated with obese, glucose-intolerant fathers on a high-fat diet produce female offspring who develop glucose intolerance due to impaired insulin secretion and pancreatic function. This is the first report in any species that a father’s diet can initiate progression to diabetes in his offspring. The work highlights a novel role for environmentally induced paternal factors in influencing metabolic disease in offspring and in the growing epidemics of obesity and diabetes.
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