EGA Institute for Women's Health


Intergenerational Inheritance of Epigenetic Marks

An Investigation of Intergenerational Inheritance of Epigenetic Marks from Obese Father to Growth Restricted Offspring

We have shown that obese men with insulin-resistance are at risk of fathering growth-restricted babies with epigenetic changes to metabolism-controlling genes. Hillman S. et al. Diabetes Care 2013; 36: 1675-1680 and Hillman SL. et al. and Epigenetics 2015; 10:50-61).

In collaboration with Professor Vardhman Rakyan’s group at QMUL and Dr Michelle Holland at Kings College London, we are funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC/P011799/1) (£903,026) to investigate epigenetic marks (DNA methylation) associated with paternal obesity and whether they can be reversed by weight loss.  

We are also investigating whether there is evidence of intergenerational inheritance of acquired epigenetic marks from obese fathers to growth-restricted babies. If so, could pre-conception paternal weight loss improve pregnancy outcomes?