If there’s one thing you don’t want your beautiful newborn to resemble, it’s a previous partner. (Especially if it's one you'd rather forget…)
This controversial idea, known as telegony, dates back to the ancient Greeks, but was regarded as superstition in most scientific circles.
New research published in the journal Ecology Letters by the University of New South Wales may just prove this controversial theory to be true, however. Well, with fruit flies, anyway.
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The team discovered that the size of the flies’ young was determined by the size of the first male the mother mated with, rather than the second.
The theory, according to researchers is that molecules in the semen of the first mate are absorbed by the female's immature eggs, influencing future offspring.
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'Our discovery complicates our entire view of how variation is transmitted across generations, but also opens up exciting new possibilities and avenues of research,' said lead author Dr Crean.
We know that features that run in families are not just influenced by the genes that are passed down from parents to their children,' Dr Clean added.
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'Just as we think we have things figured out, nature throws us a curve ball and shows us how much we still have to learn.'
Researchers commented that they were yet to see if the theory applies to other species.