This is ‘epigenetics’, first proposed by Lamarck at around the same time as Darwin was championing evolution. Darwin’s theory of course won through and Lamarck was discredited until now and the linkage of gene change to environmental factors. A fascinating piece of research.
|There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
Let’s take the old maxim down from the shelf
and see why fear can be bad for your health.
It’s all in the genes, it seems, just picture these scenes ……
My granddad was sleeping peaceful in bed
He rushed out the door, tripped over the cat
He rolled on the floor writhing in pain.
The doctor arrived, a man with a beard
All this happened on Friday thirteenth;
So much to fear, it’s all so absurd
1st December 2013 – headline from the Independent
Notes: “The smell of fear can be inherited, scientists prove.” Scientists have shown for the first time that fear can be transmitted from a father to his offspring through his sperm alone in a ground-breaking study into a new kind of genetic inheritance. Experiments on mice have demonstrated that they can be trained to associate a particular kind of smell to a fearful memory and that this fear can be passed down through subsequent generations via chemical changes to a father’s sperm cells. The findings raise questions over whether a similar kind of inheritance occurs in humans, for example whether men exposed to the psychological trauma of a foreign war zone can pass on this fearful behavioural experience in their sperm to their children and grandchildren conceived at home.
- The smell of fear can be inherited, scientists prove (richarddawkins.net)
- Mice ‘warn’ sons of dangers through inherited fears (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Mice can inherit learned sensitivity to a smell (earthsky.org)