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Still Waters

Phobias may be memories passed down in genes

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Memories can be passed down to later generations through genetic switches that allow offspring to inherit the experience of their ancestors, according to new research that may explain how phobias can develop.

http://www.telegraph...-ancestors.html

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Very interesting....

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How else would a species be able to evolve unless "information" was able to be passed on to future generations. Really, a "no-brainer."

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The Assassin's Creed franchise is based upon genetic memory and living through the experiences of ancestors.

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Now that I think further about it, could the "reincarnation" memories of certain individuals who claim they are reborn, actually be traumatic genetic memories of their ancestors passed on to them?

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My 'other halves' side of the family have a reptile phobia....

Seems to have skipped our son though. I would guess education trumps hereditary phobias.

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Apparently one of my ancestors fell from a great height, while being on fire, and lived to pass it on.

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I'm terrified of spiders... My Papa never was though... And he was afraid of birds, but I'm not, so...

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People certainly do seem to 'inherit' all sorts of traits, dislikes, likes, fears, talents, and so on and on from their ancestors. It could be from a long lost one too... not just mom and pop.

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No and... no.

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And no values(we can include fear in that) are inborn/genetic. They are learned.

Edited by Bildr
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Now that I think further about it, could the "reincarnation" memories of certain individuals who claim they are reborn, actually be traumatic genetic memories of their ancestors passed on to them?

I've held the belief of ancestor memory for quite a long time. It was just a personal belief from when I was pondering what past live memories could be beside a spiritual manifestation of some type. I'm glad to see more coming out about learned memories from science research :) I bet most partial memories in dreams are just that, but then there's the cases of people visualizing their own death with a reincarnation belief..those ones can't be explained by ancestrial memory since the experience of death occurred before they could pass any genetic type of memory.

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It would seem more likely that they're learned. i fear spiders because they can hurt you, but birds can't (or don't). But I'm afraid of oceans, and I've never found a reason for that. Maybe it's something on a subconcious level?

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And no values(we can include fear in that) are inborn/genetic. They are learned.

Because an architect says so?

Fear is a survival mechanism and part of the fight or flight response thereby making it inborn.

Edited by Rlyeh
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I believe, that much like addictions, phobias are either passed down from generation to generation through DNA or engrained into the mind from parent to child through years of direct exposure... -Doc. Me is in the house LoLzzz

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I am absolutely petrified of spiders and arachnids in general, as many people of Northern/North-Western European ancestry are (I read it was due to a lack of deadly spiders/tarantulas in our part of the world), and so is my dad, but my mum doesn't mind them, she's always been the one to pick them up and put them outside whilst we freaked out like the brave men we are, ha. :P

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The subject of genetic memory is actually really facinating, definitelly interested to see where future research could go on this topic

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One time I got really, really scared and my phobia filled my jeans. :whistle:

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No and... no.

And no values(we can include fear in that) are inborn/genetic. They are learned.

It might not be so cut and dried:

Kerry Ressler, a neurobiologist and psychiatrist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a co-author of the latest study, became interested in epigenetic inheritance after working with poor people living in inner cities, where cycles of drug addiction, neuropsychiatric illness and other problems often seem to recur in parents and their children. “There are a lot of anecdotes to suggest that there’s intergenerational transfer of risk, and that it’s hard to break that cycle,” he says.

Heritable traits

Studying the biological basis for those effects in humans would be difficult. So Ressler and his colleague Brian Dias opted to study epigenetic inheritance in laboratory mice trained to fear the smell of acetophenone, a chemical the scent of which has been compared to those of cherries and almonds. He and Dias wafted the scent around a small chamber, while giving small electric shocks to male mice. The animals eventually learned to associate the scent with pain, shuddering in the presence of acetophenone even without a shock.

This reaction was passed on to their pups, Dias and Ressler report today in Nature Neuroscience1. Despite never having encountered acetophenone in their lives, the offspring exhibited increased sensitivity when introduced to its smell, shuddering more markedly in its presence compared with the descendants of mice that had been conditioned to be startled by a different smell or that had gone through no such conditioning. A third generation of mice — the 'grandchildren' — also inherited this reaction, as did mice conceived through in vitro fertilization with sperm from males sensitized to acetophenone. Similar experiments showed that the response can also be transmitted down from the mother.

These responses were paired with changes to the brain structures that process odours. The mice sensitized to acetophenone, as well as their descendants, had more neurons that produce a receptor protein known to detect the odour compared with control mice and their progeny. Structures that receive signals from the acetophenone-detecting neurons and send smell signals to other parts of the brain (such as those involved in processing fear) were also bigger.

The researchers propose that DNA methylation — a reversible chemical modification to DNA that typically blocks transcription of a gene without altering its sequence — explains the inherited effect. In the fearful mice, the acetophenone-sensing gene of sperm cells had fewer methylation marks, which could have led to greater expression of the odorant-receptor gene during development.

But how the association of smell with pain influences sperm remains a mystery. Ressler notes that sperm cells themselves express odorant receptor proteins, and that some odorants find their way into the bloodstream, offering a potential mechanism, as do small, blood-borne fragments of RNA known as microRNAs, that control gene expression.

Source: Nature

I know. Weird.

Harte

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Posted (edited)

Sure... think of Instincts too? How many 'phobias' are linked to instinctual fears? I guess we've all seen baby animals and people display instinctive behavior ? .. behaviors and reactions that could not have possibly been learned .

Edited by lightly

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