SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) — Researchers have recently learned that mothers of male children could have male DNA left in their brains after birth.

The study, which was conducted at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that, of the 59 human female brain specimens studied, male DNA was found in 63 percent of them.

“In this study, we quantified male DNA in the human female brain as a marker for microchimerism of fetal origin (i.e. acquisition of male DNA by a woman while bearing a male fetus),” the study said. “Male microchimerism was present in multiple brain regions.”

Microchimerism is defined as a small amount of cells from another entity that are genetically different from the cells of the host in which they were found.

Though similar studies had come to similar conclusions when conducted using mice, such DNA imprinting had never been seen before in humans, The Atlantic additionally reported.

A reported 26 of the 59 specimens were free of “neurologic disease,” while the remaining 33 had Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers observed a discrepancy between brains plagued with neurological disorders and those without, in regards to the amount of male DNA present in a respective brain.

“Results … suggested lower prevalence … and concentration … of male microchimerism in the brains of women with Alzheimer’s disease than the brains of women without neurologic disease,” the study also observed.

Researchers added in their conclusion, “Although the relationship between brain [microchimerism] and health versus disease requires further study, our findings suggest that [microchimerism] of fetal origin could impact maternal health and potentially be of evolutionary significance.”


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