New horizons and future directions for epigenetics

Ever since the age of Darwin — and especially since the discovery of DNA — scientists have thought of biological inheritance as something permanent. You inherit the genes that your parents gave you, and that’s what you’ll pass down to your children.

But in recent years, scientists have begun to realize that genetic inheritance may be more complicated than that.

Experiments have shown, for example, that the experiences of a parent might lead to molecular changes that aren’t encoded in DNA but can still be passed down to children, affecting the health and behavior of future generations.

These findings fall within a field known as epigenetics— and research in this area has turned up a few tantalizing results. Perhaps most famously, a recent study appeared to show that mice can inherit experiences of fear from their grandfathers — something traditional genetics would have suggested is impossible.

Read the full, original story: Can you inherit experiences? Inside the weird world of epigenetics

 

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