Phobias Linked to Chemical Changes in DNA

 Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press

Modern medical researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have uncovered more information about how DNA works. While studying mice, researchers found that learned information about traumatic or stressful experiences was passed to subsequent generations. The results may explain why some people have neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety, PTSD and irrational phobias – it could be based on the inherited experiences found in their DNA.

Prior to this, scientists and medical researchers assumed that memories and learned experiences had to be passed on by instruction or through perception. While further research is necessary, the proof of structural changes in the brains of mice and their offspring indicates that memories can be passed to later generations through our DNA as well. If transgenerational memories were stored in human DNA, this discovery would have vast implications for medical treatments, psychiatric therapy and future reproductive practices.    

The idea of transgenerational memories is not new to Indigenous tribes. In fact, that notion is at the heart of the structure for many roles of tribal members within our communities. The practice of passing the roles of chief or tribal healer from one individual to their offspring or kin is one example. It could be argued that this was one of the reasons the clan structure within some tribes became utilized. When you think of the ramifications of holding the memories of your ancestors in your cells, you set up your community in a very different fashion than those who do not see a literal connection to those who came before them.

Imagine the changes that will surely occur to our current social structure once transgenerational memories supplied through human DNA is proven through medical research, when more knowledge that is Indigenous becomes common scientific thought.