Image via agsandrew - Shutterstock.com.

Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors

Image via agsandrew - Shutterstock.com.

 
28
comments

by Aaron Kase

on February 20, 2015

Do you have a fear of spiders? Maybe snakes? It could be your ancestors trying to tell you something. Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers pass down to us through our DNA.

A 2013 study from Emory University found that  mice trained to fear a specific odor would pass their emotions on to their offspring and future generations. Scientists applied electric shocks to mice as they exposed them to the smell of cherry blossoms. The mice then bred, and both the children and grandchildren of the affected rodents demonstrated a fear of cherry blossoms the first time they smelled them.

“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,” Dr. Brian Dias of the Emory University department of psychiatry said to the Daily Telegraph. “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.”

The study went beyond just observing a fear reaction. Scientists actually looked at the brains of the animals and found physical changes in the areas that process odors, and also found a marker on the odor gene of the mouse DNA.

The experiment worked even when the researchers used artificial insemination in place of allowing the mice to breed naturally. The scientists still aren’t sure how the fear imprint makes it into the sperm — whether the smell itself passes through the blood, or the brain processes the odor and sends its own signal.

“It is high time public health researchers took human transgenerational responses seriously,” Prof Marcus Pembrey, from University College London said to the BBC. “I suspect we will not understand the rise in neuropsychiatric disorders or obesity, diabetes and metabolic disruptions generally without taking a multigenerational approach.”

Humans have long sought to understand memory and heredity, nature vs. nurture and how much information parents actually transmit to their children. The nature study is another step toward answering our questions about exactly what, and how much of our forebearers’ experiences get passed down through DNA.

Primordial Fears

There is already a growing body of research about how humans and other animals inherit fear from their ancestors. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that primates’ brains are uniquely tuned to recognize snakes, suggesting that we gained an innate fear of the reptiles over the course of our evolutionary development. A 2011 study in Current Directions in Psychological Science found that human infants aren’t necessarily afraid of snakes from birth, but they learn to fear them more quickly than they learn to fear other more innocuous stimuli like flowers and rabbits.

“What we’re suggesting is that we have these biases to detect things like snakes and spiders really quickly, and to associate them with things that are yucky or bad, like a fearful voice,” study co-author Vanessa LoBue of Rutgers University said in a press release. The research built on previous work by LoBue and her team that showed that people were able to identify snakes and spiders more quickly than other animals and objects. There’s even evidence that primates actually developed large brains and keen eyesight as a defense measure to avoid falling prey to snakes.

Another study found that unborn crickets whose mothers were stalked by wolf spiders showed more fear of spiders after they were born than control crickets — not to mention a higher survival rate. At this point there’s little doubt that fear gets passed down through the generations — now we’re learning about how.

Rewriting The DNA

Fear isn’t the only thing that gets imprinted in our genes. Recent breakthroughs have made big strides in understanding epigenetics — how our DNA gets changed by environmental factors. A study published in 2013 revealed details about how certain aspects of DNA can be turned on or turned off, and therefore passed on to offspring or not. A report last year found that Crohn’s disease can cause epigenetic changes in people who suffer from it. And scientists were able to edit the DNA of mice to cure them of an inheritable liver disease — with hope that the same process would work in humans.

Other researchers are working on how to encode DNA with specific information. A study led by synthetic biologist Timothy Lu of MIT and published in Science in 2014 found a way to rewrite living DNA in a cell and watch as the altered information was transferred to new cells. The researchers changed cells to make them sense light and react to other stimuli. Next, they hope to use the technology to make a recording of the cell’s environment for study, such as placing the cells in water for a week and then testing them for toxins.

Other scientists have managed to etch the equivalent of a megabyte worth of data onto DNA, and then read it back. Both studies are more geared toward gathering and storing information, but the more we learn about how to change DNA, the possibility looms that we could learn how memories are implanted — and someday even artificially create hereditary memories, if scientific interest and ethics allowed such an outcome.

Beyond The Physical Realm

The idea of memories being written into DNA could provoke speculation about phenomenon like visions of past lives, although it might be a leap to go from a reaction to odor to the recall of specific and discrete memories.

Polish Professor of Pedogogy Andrzej Szyszko-Bohusz has worked since the 1960s to promote a theory of genetic immortality in which parental consciousness is transmitted to children along with DNA and other hereditary information. More recently, University of Virginia (UVA) professor Jim Tucker hypothesizes that consciousness needs no physical binding at all to pass on. Tucker, who studies children who have memories of past lives, claims that quantum physics suggests that our physical world is created by our consciousness. Therefore, consciousness doesn’t need the world, let alone a brain, to exist, and could simply affix itself to a new brain once it passes out of a dying one.

“I understand the leap it takes to conclude there is something beyond what we can see and touch,” Tucker said to UVA Magazine. “But there is this evidence here that needs to be accounted for, and when we look at these cases carefully, some sort of carry-over of memories often makes the most sense.”

He calls it the science of reincarnation. Whether he is on the right track, or we discover that memories are passed down by DNA all along, or there is some other mechanism we don’t know about yet, is still to be determined.

there are 28 Comments

#Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Do...

[…] Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers pass down to us through our DNA.  […]

0
Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Dow...

[…] Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers pass down to us through our DNA.  […]

0
Memories Pass Down Through Time | J. Giambrone

[…] Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors […]

0
TakeOff Rogers

Amazing!

0
Ravenelvenlady

Fascinating findings. I will make sure to share. Thanks.

0
Rhonda Perkins

So the slavery experience was passed down.

0
Only When Vince McMahon Dies

This is really interesting

0
James Benton

Rather fascinating viewpoint. Falls right in line with something I’ve started looking at here…

https://genekeys.net/

0
Cliff

Always had this idea. Once when talking to a friend l glanced at the TV which l wasn’t taking much notice of and said to my friend ” I’m never going through that again”. The TV program showed soldiers going over the top in WW1. She gave me a funny look and then l realised what l’d just said. Freaky. My grandfather was at the Battle of the Somme.

0
Science is proving … highlighted text | The Safe House

[…] a growing body of research about how humans and other animals inherit fear from their ancestors. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that primates’ […]

0
Primordial Fear: Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors | RIELPOLITIK

[…] a growing body of research about how humans and other animals inherit fear from their ancestors. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that primates’ […]

0
Kalar Walters

It’s not just fear. Any highly-charged emotional/psychological event can impact DNA….imprint on it. The “events” can be good or bad.

0
Patrick Mohr

Not too good for America creating a full generation of post-traumatic stress disorder kids… 🙁

0
Patrick McGean

Science is destroying too many memories with vaccines to understand what could be passed. Vaccines are a deadly scientific achievement based on lies and no proof, so if science wishes to continue doing science then get in the face of virologist regarding our biology, or there will be no virologists on the planet, we will end their miserable scientific lives. The priests of science will understand when we cease their breathing.
Autism and Alzheimer’s are both vaccine damage, of science, not biology.

0
Imagining Forgiveness » Blog Archive » Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors – Reset.me

[…] Source: Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors – Reset.me […]

0
Craig Pastirko

Good point.

0
Links on Meditation, Cancer, Diet

[…] Have you ever experienced a memory of something that happened to someone other than you? When I did the Hoffman Process I had the incredible experience of remembering something that happened to my mother when she was a child. When I raised it with her, she told me that she have never told me and was curious about how I knew about it. It was then that I realised that our DNA might contain much more than the instructions for our physiology. And in the last month I came across this article that suggests there just could be some truth to this theory: Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors. […]

0
The easy jump from science to pseudoscience - it's far too easy! - My Random Blog Of Thoughts

[…] Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors http://reset.me/story/science-proving-memories-passed-ancestors/ Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers […]

0
Krista Jarrard

Yes, we observe the events and conditions that existed in our families past are living on in us today as our current issues. For over 30 years Systemic Family Constellation Work has been supporting clients in healing these issues at the source point. So your insights are correct regarding slavery, the effects of wars, leaving countries and home, all of this can be passed on. If you are interested in reading about this trans generational work I share a link. http://www.familyconstellationwork.com

0
TGFI: vol 6 - Meg Worden

[…] More cool studies proving that actual fear memories can be passed down from ancestors. Epigenetics is utterly fascinating and another argument for our profound interconnectedness with our lineage, and each other. I’ve been getting these articles from pal, Marybeth Bonfiglio, who is working on a lineage project you might want to know about. […]

0
Here’s a Speech I preformed today – face away friday

[…] Kase, A. (Febuary 20th, 2015). Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors. Reset.Me. Web. Accessed Feb. 18th 2016. http://reset.me/story/science-proving-memories-passed-ancestors/ […]

0
Links of the Day | mondo arcana

[…] Science Is Proving Some Memories Are Passed Down From Our Ancestors […]

0
Mental Health Begins Before Birth - Laura Giles, LCSW Holistic Counseling in Richmond, VA

[…] essentially one person. What mom goes through, baby goes through. If mom is anxious, guess what? Baby has a good chance of being anxious too. People with emotional difficulties are more likely to have children with emotional difficulties. […]

0
Six Habits of Thinking which Might Harm your Client's Birth -

[…] in most women. However, the fear of dying in childbirth is still common and can be explained as a genetic memory, or in Carl Jung’s term as a “collective unconscious”, a broader concept of inherited traits, […]

0
Scientists Prove Memories Can Be Passed Down Through DNA | TrenderBox

[…] a growing body of research about how humans and other animals inherit fear from their ancestors. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 found that primates’ […]

0

login or signup to post a comment