The Haunting of Fearful Memories Across Generations

Negative memories have been shown to haunt across generations in mice, but what does this mean for us humans? In the spirit of conjecture, I’m here to offer up my perspective on the topic since I come from two unique angles. First, I am researcher in the field of molecular genetics and secondly I am the grand-child of holocaust survivors. While world history and religion aren’t topics I often talk about, I’ve been left wondering about one thing.

A recent piece by the nature has discussed some of the findings about fearful memories being transmitted across to future generations. The offspring of these mice experienced altered behaviour for two generations most likely due to epigenetic changes. This leaves me wondering just what type of transmission occurred in the minds of millions of progeny from survivors. Has it been lost in the noise of other environmental factors across time, or is a molecular memory haunting a people known for their intelligence. 


Transgenerational Memories

Transgenerational Memories

An interesting piece by the NPG

I wonder just what proportion of memory and experience ends up travelling through our genomes.

David Sweatt comments “The overwhelming response has been ‘Wow! But how the hell is it happening?'” 

You can find the articles and commentary on Pubmed

Coding and Regulatory reading frames in the same sequence?!

Coding and Regulatory reading frames in the same sequence?!

It turns out that some genes have regulatory and protein codon (genetic sequence) reading frames written in the same sequence, with mutations capable of affecting both protein regulation and function separately and yet together.

Chanel and Epigenetics

The Innocent, The Vicious and The Nun


Never! Ever! Never in a million years would I thought that I would read about epigenetics in connection with Chanel firming cream!

“Chanel uses epigenetics to inaugurate self-biology. Genes generate all of an individual’s proteins, but they only represent a small proportion of DNA. A large portion of DNA, which were thought to be silent, is actually a wonderful regulation and adaptation mechanism. It calls on chemical “switches,” called microRNAs (or miRs), which are tiny fragments of RNA that modulate protein synthesis by adhering to messenger RNA coding sequences. These control processes are key elements of epigenetic regulation. Their production is constantly modified by the environment and living conditions.”

I am a geneticist and I am completely lost for words! All these years when I applied for grant money for my research and had to write how it would benefit our society, it has never, not even for a split second, occurred to me to mention firming creams!…

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On one side, yo…

On one side, you have moneyed interests refusing to accept data that might force stronger regulations of their most profitable chemicals. On the other side, you have genetic determinists clinging to an old paradigm.

I’m not a toxicologist, or even an environmentalist. I didn’t come to this as an advocate for or against any particular chemical or policy. I found something in the data, and I pursued it along a logical path, the way any basic researcher would.

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