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Is It Possible for Our Children to Inherit Our Experiences?

Sean McDermott

Posted on February 7, 2021 01:50

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Among the fascination of traditional genetics, there is a new study called epigenics that could prove we could pass on our experiences to our children.

When we look at all living things and their relatives, the physical properties they share reflect the extremely dynamic finished products of genetics. Whether it be a daughter receiving her mother's blue eyes or a grandson whose hair thins and falls out in his thirties because his paternal grandfather passed such a lucky balding gene on to him. They each happen because of the magical workings of the double-helix, DNA strands programming every single detail of ourselves like lines of computer code. 

When a child is born, a parent will almost instantly begin seeing traits of their own and/or the other parent- the shape of the nose, the hair color, the shape of their eyes, and the shape of all other bodily features as well. What becomes fascinating is when you begin to think about how many traits are passed on that aren't so physical or tangible. For example, as a child I remember traveling across a large bridge (the George Washington Bridge to be exact) in my mother's station wagon. I peered out the window, saw the massive structure of the bridge, looked over at how high up we were, and I frantically screamed and cried before dipping below to hide under the passenger seat. I realized early I had a fear of heights, though it would subside over time. Fast-forward to 30 years later, I am traveling in my own vehicle with my son across a bridge into Bay Head, NJ. The bridge isn't quite as large as the one I went across at his age, but my son peers out the window, trembles his lips, and says, "Daddy the bridge is scary. Its too high up!" 

I'm almost certain my son developed the same fear of heights I had. Is it a coincidence, or did I pass this on to him through an unknown genetic process? If we wander outside the world of accepted genetics, scientists are beginning to explore a new study of inheritance called epigenics. Epigenics is the study of how different occurrences in a person's life might affect molecular developments that aren't necessarily embedded in DNA. According to Vox.com, scientists began realizing DNA alone did not influence the activity of genes. Rather, they began studying the epigenome which is a set of chemical markers working with DNA to instruct when, where, and how genes are to act. They found that the epigenome could be affected by environmental factors, and depending on which factors a cell experiences, a gene would be turned "on or off." Bees apparently have epigenetic markers in larvae that are triggered by particular food ingredients creating either worker bees or queen bees. 

To this point, the science is still controversial. Experiments have shown mice inheriting the same fears found in their grandparents, but they are still looking for molecules other than DNA that could affect gene activity. If those molecules are found, it could prove to be an epic discovery for the world of science. 

Sean McDermott

Posted on February 7, 2021 01:50

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Source: Discovery

From the parasitic fungus in "The Last of Us Part II" to plant genetics in "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," examples of real-life...

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