Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Do you know what “Epigenetic Inheritance” is?

I’ve been reading up on recent studies regarding Epigenetics. It’s a fascinating idea that the trauma your ancestor(s) experienced could have changed their genes, and those genes were passed down to you. I included information about epigenetics in the book I've written because it may give explanation to my great-grandmother's sense of well-being and certain choices she made considering what her own ancestors went through. I also have an ancestor who survived the Irish Potato Famine. Do I somehow know the hardships she endured? Am I hindered or strengthened because of her adversity?

My Great-Great Grandmother who survived the Great Irish Famine

Nature or Nurture? How About Both

Scientists found epigenetic tags on the same part of the gene associated with the regulation of stress hormones in both the Holocaust survivors and their offspring. The same correlation was not found on the same gene in any of the control group: Jewish families who were living outside of Europe (who did not experience the Holocaust) and their children. Consequently, the children of the Holocaust survivors may have altered stress hormones that can hamper their ability to bounce back from trauma and they may suffer from anxiety disorders.

Epigenetics may explain how behaviors develop and sometimes persist

Experiences such as child neglect and alcoholism can cause epigenetic changes in the genes, setting off behavioral disorders in descendants. There are more studies being performed in the new field of behavioral epigenetics. These studies might bring about new treatments for healing. Who would have guessed there can be molecular scars in our DNA?

Experiences forgotten but never gone?

Our forbearers experiences have become a part of us. If we can inherit weaknesses, can we not also inherit strengths? The answer is yes. Be grateful for those good people who could find fortitude in their trials and passed those attributes down to you. Maybe you inherited that optimism after all?