Is it possible to change the genes that you'll pass on to your offsprings by natural activity and behavior.

For example if you do body building for quite a long time build strong muscles then would your offsprings have stronger muscle builds than average?

Or is random mutation is the only way DNA would change naturally?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, this does not happen. This is the view of Lamarck on evolution which is wrong. The only natural way of changing DNA is by mutation. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Jun 24, 2016 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Could OP be getting confused by epigenetics? $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jun 24, 2016 at 9:23
  • $\begingroup$ @user137 Possible. Then this question needs clarification. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Jun 24, 2016 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Clarify your question please. $\endgroup$ Jun 24, 2016 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ As far as I know, yes, but not in the sense you are asking. Sperms with Y chromosomes are only so slightly lighter than those with X chromosomes, so if you are male and weakened so much that for your sperms it makes a difference (but still are fit enough to engage in sexual activity), you will have more male offspring. But no, no, no chance that your offspring has stronger hair if you visit the hairdresser more often. $\endgroup$
    – user21844
    Jun 24, 2016 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


This is in between an extended comment and an answer.

What do you mean by "Natural"?

The question makes no sense as the term "natural" isn't properly defined. (I am voting to close as unclear).

For example, if you go to an area where there is "naturally" a high radioactivity, this will increase your mutation rate. Is this a natural way to change your mutation rate (even though you need a specific device to compare the level of radioactivity)?

As another example, some diets may potentially increase once mutation rate, but again you need a fair amount of research to figure out what diet does what.

Yet another example, a plant that is stressed tend to increase its mutation rate. This, I suppose sounds quite "natural".

In any of the above examples, the mutation are random in the sense that they do not have a foreseen impact on the phenotype of the offsprings.

if you do body building for quite a long time build strong muscles then would your offsprings have stronger muscle builds than average?

This sounds very Lamarckian. We've known for more than 150 years this is not how evolution works. If you are unaware of these concepts, you should have a look at Understanding Evolution (UC Berkeley) (or other introductory source of information) to get a notion of what evolution is about.

In the comments, one person talked about epigenetics. I think there is no point talking about epigenetics for the moment as it may do nothing but disturb the OP if indeed (s)he does not have some introductory basis to evolutionary biology.

  • $\begingroup$ Would a diet high in Cobalt-60 and nitrite salts maximize your mutation rate? $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Jun 24, 2016 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, typically! $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Jun 24, 2016 at 11:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's called the Manhattan Project Diet. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Jun 24, 2016 at 12:20

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