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Sperm-mediated gene transfer is a process by which mature sperm cells take up exogenous DNA (DNA from outside of the sperm) and bring it to oocytes during fertilization. This can only happen when sperm is still in the epididymous because once ejaculated, sperm is surrounded by a protective glycoprotein in seminal fluid that prevents its interaction with the exogenous material.

Corrado Spadafora discusses the potential evolutionary implications of this finding, and shares the hypothesis that this phenomenon could result in the formation of a new species; that is, if environmental conditions and stressors are strong enough and the amount, quality, and nature of the RNA that reaches the epididymous is significantly different, then it could have the power to redirect embryo development and create something new.

Learn more about Spadafora’s research by pressing play. He has also authored and co-authored several papers, which can be found by searching his name at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.

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