We may be carrying our ancestors’ genetic memories

We may be carrying our ancestors’ genetic memories

Do we remember what our ancestors’ activities were like and what they experienced? There are many movies where we see generations experiencing and recalling memories of our long dead generations. What imaginations director and writer penned for films might be a reality – that is what recent studies are showing. We may be carrying our ancestors’ genetic memories !

We can relate or identify our behaviors with our parents, grandparents and great grandparents. We can reason our behavior and attribute it to our few earlier generations. It appears that the experiences which our ancestors lived 14 generations back are having an impact/effect on us now. A team of scientists lead by Barcelona’s center for Genomic Regulation and the Joseph Carreras Leukemia Research Institute say that based on their studies on nematode worms there is possibility that the genes of our ancestors have passed through several generations to give those memories back!

This observation is not made with humans. The theory and assumption is based on nematode research and the fact that the difference between humans and nematode worms’ genetic makeup is not much. Thus, there is a chance that an ancestor who was born few centuries ago might be still playing in our life with his/her memories. This is assuming that if human genetic makeup acts in similar manner as compared to genetic makeup of nematodes!

The basic genetics is that genes are inherited from parents and their parents to them. Changes to genome expression can be due to chemicals, environment, internal factors, psychological issues, chemicals, activities etc. In case, our ancestors experienced severe stress then gene expression –  would have changed. This information was stored in (DNA). This will be carried to next generation (epigenetic change) without altering gene sequence. Some researchers give example where ancestors who went through Dutch famine transferred the memories to future generation in the form of genes. Those descendants developed increased glucose intolerance in adulthood! Another example is descendants of Holocaust survivors who have lower levels of cortisol and can bounce back from a trauma.

The studies on nematode helps us to understand epigenetic inheritance because it demonstrates of long the epigenetic inheritance or inter-generational effects carry through in generations.

Studies on nematode and earlier in mice show that memories can be passed down to generations through these genetic changes and offspring inherit the memories and experience of their ancestors.  This study also may explain why some people suffer from irrational phobias, psychological conditions, undergo stress for small reasons – well, it might be based on inherited experiences and memories from their ancestors!!


Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: April 27, 2018

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