Now that scientists have mapped out how DNA is carried from one generation to the next, they may soon be able to create a more precise template for it.
The next step is to be able have more precise measurements of how this DNA is distributed in the human genome.
That could allow scientists to create more precise versions of the human DNA that are more accurate for a given population.
It’s not yet clear how this work will affect our ability to make accurate copies of our own DNA, or how it could help us to diagnose disease in people.
But some of the genetic engineering techniques that were recently described in Nature are still in their infancy, and we may not have a very good idea of what they might be able to do for us.
The new work, from researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, shows that genetic variants of the protein CAG-1, which is important in the regulation of embryonic development, are distributed in a way that is highly similar to that of human DNA.
The researchers also found that they can get a precise genetic map of these variant variants.
This new work is important because it shows that variants of CAG that were previously thought to be present in human embryos are actually present in other animals, and that the genetic differences they have between themselves and the embryo they create can be used to map out the population genetic structure in different species.
It also gives us a more detailed understanding of the way in which variation in the DNA is regulated in the body.
Previous work has suggested that this regulation is influenced by environmental factors.
The study, led by Prof Peter Dittrich of the Max-Planck Institute, and colleagues, also shows that these variants can be passed on to future generations in a different way.
The genes of the embryos were not designed to carry the variants, but to help the embryos make a more accurate map of their environment.
“We could say that in nature, the environment is always being regulated by the environment, so that is what we do here,” Dittfrich said.
“But the way we do it in nature is that we control the genome to ensure that it does not become the way it is in the embryo.”
He said this is because, in humans, there are many genetic variants that are not passed on through maternal transmission.
“This means that if the genetic variant is passed on by the mother, it may change the phenotype of the offspring, because there is a potential to change the genome in such a way as to make the embryo more similar to the mother,” he said.
It also means that the DNA of a future generation may contain many variants that were already present in the egg and that may not be present anymore.
The team found that this would not only lead to the offspring carrying variants that did not exist in the mother’s DNA, but that these would also affect the offspring’s phenotype in ways that would influence their development.
These changes could be subtle and would be influenced by the way that the parents reacted to the environment.
The offspring of those who have been genetically engineered will not necessarily inherit the characteristics of their parents, but there may be an environmental component to the way the offspring is made that makes them behave differently from the parents.
“There are many reasons why these variants might be passed down in the future, such as a response to environmental factors or changes in the way a gene is expressed, or changes to the gene’s activity or function,” Dettfrich added.
The implications of the study are profound because it suggests that in the next generation, the way our genetic material is distributed is likely to have a direct impact on our genes, and the genetic variation that makes us different will have a profound impact on how our bodies and brains develop.
The scientists are now working to identify other environmental influences that could affect the genetic changes that result from the work.
The work has been published in Nature Communications and can be found at http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-014-08559-2