October 8, 2014
It used to be taught that if a woman had sex with someone else before they were married, that the child born from the husband would look like the previous lover.
Since then advances have been made in biology, and nowadays that is seen as just an old wife’s tale.
However it has recently been discovered that this is indeed true for flies. The explanation offered is that the previous partner’s sperm affects the environment of the womb, causing future flies to look more like the previous partner than the new one.
If this is true for human beings too, then it might well explain the origin of some types of Wigger, as well as give a sound biological basis for avoiding having children with any woman who has ever had a Black boyfriend.
A female fly’s previous sexcapades can have a profound effect on how her future children look, redefining the way scientists think about inheritance in insects.
Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, discovered that a mother’s first sexual partner can determine the size of her later offspring, even if he didn’t sire them. This odd evolutionary twist is caused by a secret compound in sperm. (See “Why Female Flies Eat Sperm.”)
“It is strange and certainly unexpected,” said Angela Crean, an evolutionary ecologist at the university who co-authored the study. “We thought genetics is how inheritance works, but that’s just one mechanism of inheritance.”
Everyone knows the story of how babies are made. Sperm meets egg and creates a new life-form, which is half father and half mother. However, there are environmental factors that affect the development of the fetus, like smoking (in humans) and other chemical exposures in the womb.
In the case of the fly, semen is an environmental factor that holds the key to a baby fly’s size—whether or not the baby is related to the fly that supplied the semen, according to a new study published in Ecology Letters.