Happy Sunday − and welcome to the best of The Conversation. Here are a few of our recently published stories:

I’ve had several male friends over the years who have voluntarily given up alcohol while their wives were pregnant. I always considered it an admirable and loving gesture of solidarity during a prolonged period when women are told by doctors that any drinking could potentially harm the fetus in their womb. And though I’m currently childless, I’ve pondered doing the same if my partner were to become pregnant.

But while the act is certainly well-intended, it looks like I and other men could do more for our partners – and our future progeny – by cutting back on our wine or beer consumption before conception rather than only after pregnancy begins. That’s according to new research by Michael Golding, a professor of physiology at Texas A&M University.

“When it comes to diagnosing babies born with birth defects associated with alcohol consumption, such as fetal alcohol syndrome, historically only the mother’s drinking habits are taken into consideration.” Golding wrote in a reader fave last week. “Research clearly shows that sperm carry a vast amount of epigenetic information – meaning heritable shifts in the way genes are expressed that don’t result from changes in the DNA sequence – that strongly influences fetal development and child health.”

Bryan Keogh

Managing Editor

Readers' picks

Little to no attention has been given to the father’s potential contribution to fetal alcohol syndrome disorders. Katleho Seisa/E+ via Getty Images

New research points to dad’s drinking as a significant factor in fetal alcohol

Michael Golding, Texas A&M University

Public health messaging has focused on the drinking habits of the mother during pregnancy. But a growing body of research shows that what dad is drinking before pregnancy matters too.

Editors' picks

The music room of the Ospedaletto is known for its remarkable acoustics. Marica S. Tacconi

Music painted on the wall of a Venetian orphanage will be heard again nearly 250 years later

Marica S. Tacconi, Penn State

On the wall of an orphanage in Venice, a musicologist encountered a fresco featuring an aria written for an opera. She’s since embarked on a project to bring this forgotten music back.

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