Conspiracy theory: DNA of sex partner stays forever!

By Benno von Sandhayn
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Conspiracy theory: DNA of sex partner stays forever!

The DNA of the first sex partner in your own body

The Corona pandemic is unsettling people because it affects virtually everyone. Uncertainty, combined with fear and half-knowledge, gives rise to conspiracy theories. Although vaccination has been shown to protect against Covid-19, many people do not want to be vaccinated for fear of side effects and unforeseen reactions. These theories include the assumption that the DNA of the sex partner is transferred to the woman, who thus carries the semen imprint of the first man in her genes forever.

A passing on of the sexual partner’s DNA?

Verschwörungstheorie: DNA des Sexpartners bleibt für immer!The theory of passing on a sex partner’s DNA comes from genetics and is called telegony. It states that a woman’s first sex partner shapes the genetic makeup and appearance of all future offspring through his or her sperm. The theory originated in antiquity and was held until the 19th century. Animal breeders assumed, for example, that a breeding animal that was first mated by a mongrel could never again have purebred offspring. Although this view has long since been disproved, it is still circulating as a conspiracy theory in various forums on the Internet.

The statement that the DNA of the sexual partner would be passed on with the sperm is based on a misinterpretation of a study conducted with an Australian fly species. If the telegony statement were true, and the DNA of the sex partner was transferred during ejaculation, a European woman whose first sex partner (during unprotected sex) was an African or Asian would never again be allowed to give birth to white children. Study results from the investigation of flies cannot be transferred to humans.

What does telegony have to do with Covid-19 and vaccination?

At first glance, there seems to be no connection. However, conspiracy theorists and vaccination opponents use some statements taken out of context as well as obvious untruths as arguments not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and to convince others of the correctness of their views by making sham scientific claims.

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They use the claim that the sex partner’s DNA is transferred to the woman’s genes during ejaculation to warn against vaccination. Two false assumptions are behind the conspiracy theory:

  • The mRNA vaccines developed against coronavirus cause
    Changes in the genetic makeup of vaccinated individuals.
  • These altered genes are passed to women during unprotected sex…
    which she in turn passes on to her children.

These assumptions are wrong and not confirmed by any reliable studies or tests. Actually, claims that the sex partner’s DNA is passed on during ejaculation and that the first man’s semen imprint remains in the woman’s genes forever would be ridiculous. In fact, however, these claims must be taken seriously because they could make people feel insecure and cause them not to get vaccinated. Besides, several relationships have failed because of it. The woman, and sometimes the man, were afraid of the sexual partner’s DNA being transferred to their genes. The fear was so strong that it broke the relationship.

Can mRNA vaccines alter genes in the body?

No, that is not possible, not in the vaccinated and certainly not the DNA of the sex partner. The fear that during vaccination errors could be transferred to the genetic material and that these could be passed on to the sex partner through the sperm is unfounded.
Why? This is due to the nature of vaccines. mRNA is messenger ribonucleic acid. However, hereditary information is stored by DNA. DNA is called deoxyribonucleic acid.

RNA cannot convert into DNA. The mRNA vaccines against coronavirus work according to the following principle:

  • The vaccine contains fragments of the genetic material of the coronavirus in the form of some viral proteins.
  • When the vaccine enters the body, it stimulates some of the body’s cells to produce these viral proteins. The immune system recognizes the foreign protein and forms defensive substances. This also explains, for example, the side effects in the form of headaches and faintness that many people experience after vaccination.
  • Vaccination trains the immune system, so to speak, to recognize the proteins of the coronavirus and to fight the viruses. If an infection occurs after vaccination, it is usually successfully warded off or at least runs a milder course than in unvaccinated persons.

Can RNA be converted into DNA?

This is normally not possible. It is even less likely that the altered DNA of the sex partner will be passed on to the offspring. The mRNA is a pure messenger substance. It has the task of transporting information from the cell nucleus to other areas of the cell. When this task is completed, the mRNA decays again and is produced again in the cell when needed.

Although there is a possibility that genetic information from the RNA could get into the DNA (reverse transcription), the probability is very low. Even less likely is the transfer of the sexual partner’s DNA during ejaculation.

Then why can’t women who participate in vaccine testing be pregnant?
In fact, pregnant women were not eligible for the studies. All study participants, women and men, were required to commit to using highly effective methods of contraception for up to 60 days after the end of the study. However, the reason for this is not fear of transmission of altered DNA of the sex partner, but fear of pregnancy itself.

Pregnancy should be absolutely excluded during the clinical trial, because there was no evidence yet about the tolerability of the vaccine during pregnancy.

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The fear that the altered DNA of the sex partner could be transferred to the woman by the vaccine and passed on by her to her offspring is doubly unfounded. First, the first man’s semen imprint does not imprint the woman ‘s genes, and second, the vaccine does not alter the DNA of the vaccinated person or the DNA of the sexual partner. As long as there are no drugs against Covid-19, vaccination is the only effective protection against the coronavirus.

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