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  • Review
  • Open Access

Paternal effects on early embryogenesis

Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction20085:2

  • Received: 17 March 2008
  • Accepted: 16 May 2008
  • Published:


Historically, less attention has been paid to paternal effects on early embryogenesis than maternal effects. However, it is now apparent that certain male factor infertility phenotypes are associated with increased DNA fragmentation and/or chromosome aneuploidies that may compromise early embryonic development. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence that the fertilizing sperm has more function than just carrying an intact, haploid genome. The paternally inherited centrosome is essential for normal fertilization, and the success of higher order chromatin packaging may impact embryogenesis. Epigenetic modifications of sperm chromatin may contribute to the reprogramming of the genome, and sperm delivered mRNA has also been hythesized to be necessary for embryogenesis. There is less information about the epigenetic factors affecting embryogenesis than genetic factors, but the epigenetics of gamete and early embryogenesis is a rapidly advancing field.