Phobias as inherited memories?
February 8, 2014 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Memories may be passed down through generations in DNA in a process that may be the underlying cause of phobias Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, found that mice can pass on learned information about traumatic or stressful experiences – in this case a fear of the smell of cherry blossom – to subsequent generations. The results may help to explain why people suffer from seemingly irrational phobias – it may be based on the inherited experiences of their ancestors. Original research article.
posted by aleph (6 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Double. -- restless_nomad

Who would have thought my Irish peasant ancestors were plagued by zombies.
posted by winna at 2:12 PM on February 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

Interesting, though the newspaper article doesn't talk about why some offspring have fears and not others. My mother has a very strong birdfear, and my sister one of ladybugs, but I none.
posted by Thing at 2:16 PM on February 8, 2014

Yikes. I remember when the comment section in The Telegraph was civilized. Ah, the smell of the laundry down the lane, and the times we had when Mr. Dickens came to visit.
posted by sneebler at 2:17 PM on February 8, 2014

Even though it is science, epigenetics seems more like magic than science.
posted by Crotalus at 2:21 PM on February 8, 2014

Twice the frights
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:35 PM on February 8, 2014

A baby mouse told me she inherited memories of this from a month ago.
posted by XMLicious at 2:36 PM on February 8, 2014

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