RNA in the sperm and eggs of mice can transfer heritable traits, scientists report in this week's Nature. The findings add another wrinkle to the current understanding of what drives inheritance, and suggest that RNA found in human sperm may also influence genetic expression. "This could add a great possibility for variation into what is already known about classical genetic variation," study author Minoo Rassoulzadegan at the University of Nice in France told The Scientist.The focus of the current study is Kit, a tyrosine kinase receptor critical to development. The researchers engineered a mutation, tm1Alf, which both suppressed Kit synthesis and generated lacZ reporter sequences. Homozygote tm1Alf mice die shortly after birth, while heterozygotes possess white feet and a white tail tip.When the researchers interbred heterozygotes, most offspring that did not possess the mutant tm1Alf allele still maintained the white patches of their parents. Polymerase chain reaction...

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