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Phobias Possibly Memories Passed Down From Ancestors

science news


New research in how phobias develop shows that it may be possible that they could be memories passed down from earlier generations through genetic switches which allow offspring to inherit the experience of their ancestors.

It has long been thought by scientists that memories and learnt experiences that are built up through a lifetime are passed on by teaching or by personal experience. New research however shows it may be possible that some information is inherited biologically through chemical changes within DNA.

At the Emory University School Of Atlanta, researchers have found that mice have the ability to pass on information about traumatic or stressful experiences to later generations.

Dr Brian Dias, from the department of psychiatry at Emory University, said: “We have begun to explore an underappreciated influence on adult behaviour – ancestral experience before conception.

“From a translational perspective, our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent, before even conceiving offspring, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations.

“Such a phenomenon may contribute to the etiology and potential intergenerational transmission of risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Check out the entire article here at The Telegraph.