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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Genetic Memory

 Genetic Memory 'IF' Memories are passed through DNA?

 

Memory, it is the thing that defines us. Experience shapes and molds our minds.

Our personalities grow out of the events of our lives.

The age old question of nature versus Nurture is often cited when discussing memory, but what if our memories are more than our experiences?

What if they are handed down through the generations?

What if we possess genetic memories?

 


 The process of genetic memory has been observed by scientist. Using a species of round worms known as nematodes. These nematodes showed that genetic changes can be passed down up to as much as 14 times through a generation.
These scientist added a transgene to the worms which carried a fluorescent protein, this enabled them to track the pattern of genetic inheritance through the generations of worm, cleverly simple, as all that was needed to see if the gene was passed on was an ultraviolet light.
We all know that living things pass on genetic code through reproduction so how does this tie into memory?

The scientist began a test using temperature as their marker for memory being passed on genetically.
They took these worms and placed them in containers with a low temperature, when they did this the worms glowed less.
They then took the same worms and moved them to another container with a higher temperature, when this was done the fluorescent protein became more active and the worms glowed stronger.
And this is where the evidence for memory comes in, when the worms were moved a third time, back to the cooler container they surprisingly, continued to glow brightly.
This event suggesting they retained an 'environmental memory' of the warmer climate – and that the transgene was still highly active.
To show how this genetic memory was passed on, the behavior of the gene continued express the same pattern in the following generations of worm. This showing that the memory was passed epigenetically through both sperm and egg.
This pattern was pushed to the point of the gene disappearing and this took approximately 14 generations.
The scientist also found that this pattern scales up with larger species of animal. They first found evidence of this stepping up in experiments using mice.




The Spanish researchers said that are many examples epigenetic memory and that there would seem to be no reason that humanity would be excluded from having the same trait.
The problem with measuring or proving this in mankind, is the fact we live so much longer than a roundworm.
Scientist saying "Inherited effects in humans are difficult to measure due to the long generation times and difficulty with accurate record keeping."
This research does however suggest that events in our lives can indeed affect the development of our children and perhaps even grandchildren.
 – are the events of our lives recorded in the DNA and passed down?
There have been some examples of possible evidence for this.
In one survey researchers found that the descendants of Holocaust survivors had lower levels of the hormone cortisol, this is the chemical which helps your body bounce back to health after suffering trauma.
This research using the nematodes is an important step towards the understanding of our own epigenetic inheritance.
If we do find this is indeed the case, it opens up a whole range of questions and possibilities.
We may have to consider the possibility that criminal and antisocial behavior, could be handed down, the effects of traumatic events carrying more weight as the effects could be felt through multiple generations.
We may even be able to take advantage of this.
Imagine a world where babies are born with genetic knowledge, could we see this being used as a multiplier for education and IQ?
Imagine a few generations of humanity that have been born with the complete knowledge of their ancestors, this could really speed up the development of society in all areas.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves this research is still in the early phases, but I think it is an area of science worth watching.
Do you think that we can inherit memories?
Do you think this phenomena has a potential use in the future?
Let me know your thoughts you in the comments below ……

 

 


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