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Are phobias passed down through DNA ?


Posted on Monday, 2 December, 2013 | Comment icon 20 comments

Are irrational fears passed down through the generations ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christoph Bock
Scientists believe that phobias may be passed down between generations through a person's DNA.
Traditionally it was thought that memories and experiences could only be passed down from one generation to the next through direct teaching, but now scientists are challenging this idea by suggesting that some information can also be passed down biologically through DNA.

In experiments conducted by the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, researchers discovered that traumatic or stressful experiences could be passed down between generations of mice. The find suggests the possibility that irrational fears and phobias in humans that can't otherwise be explained may actually be based on the experiences of our ancestors.

"It addresses constitutional fearfulness that is highly relevant to phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders, plus the controversial subject of transmission of the ‘memory’ of ancestral experience down the generations," said geneticist Professor Marcus Pembrey.

"It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously. I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multigenerational approach."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (20)

Tags: Phobia, DNA


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 on 3 December, 2013, 13:43
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?
Comment icon #12 Posted by Rlyeh on 3 December, 2013, 16:10
Because an architect says so? Fear is a survival mechanism and part of the fight or flight response thereby making it inborn.
Comment icon #13 Posted by LimeGelatin on 3 December, 2013, 17:17
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
Comment icon #14 Posted by TheSpoonyOne on 4 December, 2013, 2:17
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
Comment icon #15 Posted by Cryptid_Control on 4 December, 2013, 13:06
The subject of genetic memory is actually really facinating, definitelly interested to see where future research could go on this topic
Comment icon #16 Posted by docyabut2 on 4 December, 2013, 13:12
Similar to my topic
Comment icon #17 Posted by BiffSplitkins on 4 December, 2013, 13:23
One time I got really, really scared and my phobia filled my jeans.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Harte on 9 December, 2013, 4:11
It might not be so cut and dried: Source: I know. Weird. Harte
Comment icon #19 Posted by lightly on 9 April, 2014, 18:08
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 .


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