Mapping the past, present and future research landscape of paternal effects

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Joanna Rutkowska, Malgorzata Lagisz, Russell Bonduriansky, Shinichi Nakagawa


Although in all sexually reproducing organisms, an individual has a mother and a father, non-genetic inheritance has been predominantly studied in mothers. Paternal effects have been far less frequently studied, until recently. In the last five years, research on environmentally induced paternal effects has grown rapidly in the number of publications and diversity of topics. Motivations for studies into paternal effects are also diverse. For example, from the ecological and evolutionary perspective, paternal effects are of interest as facilitators of response to environmental change and mediators of extended heredity. Medical researchers track how paternal pre-fertilization exposures to factors, such as toxins, trauma or diet, influence offspring health. In consequence, literature on paternal effects is large and disparate. Here, we systematically review and synthesize this heterogeneous field to help fostering connections between areas of knowledge that develop in parallel, but which could benefit from the lateral transfer of concepts and methods.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Other Medicine and Health Sciences, Physiology


maternal effects, meta-analysis, research weaving, systematic review, transgenerational effects, transgenerational plasticity


Published: 2020-05-08 04:55

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