Dietary restriction (DR),and various forms of it, have been reported in several models including humans to have health benefits. These studies are usually done within a single generation of animals. However, we sometimes lack foresight and do not consider how our current actions can affect the next generation.
The recent article by Ivimey-Cook shows how a DR model can have detrimental effects on our progeny. The effect of temporary fasting (TF) was investigated on progeny starting from the F1 stage until the F3 stage. TF in Parental, F1 and F2 caused increased lifespan but this lifespan extension due to TF was eliminated in the F3 progeny as their fitness was impacted.
The authors also show how the odour of food causes parental individuals exposed to TF increase their reproduction in exchange for a reduction in their lifespan extension. This food sensing ability of the animals suggest that information is being passed to the offspring to prepare them for their future environment (bad or good). This suggests how the health or current state of parental animals affects their offspring. Therefore, transgenerational effects, which are very relevant now, should be considered heavily for future generations both good and bad.
Ivimey-Cook, E. R. et al. (2021). Transgenerational fitness effects of lifespan extension by dietary restriction in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 288, rspb.2021.0701.