Do you experience an irrational fear of something that you cannot explain? Do you often wonder why you feel different from the people around you? The answers to these questions may lie in your genes.
A recent study done in Emory University suggests that the memories of our ancestors may come down to us through our genes and it may hold the key to certain fears and anxieties we feel. Traumatic experiences faced by our ancestors that not only impacted their memories but also their brain and genes may be transferred down to their children, developing an ancestral memory of it within the genetic code. The wisdom of our ancestors is already within us!
How was the study conducted?
Researchers came to this assumption after conducting tests on rodents. It was seen that a few rodents were able to find their way out of a maze faster if their parents had the experience of learning a part of the maze than rodents with inexperienced parents. In a similar manner, mice had a way to transfer the fear of certain odors to their offspring which they would avoid from their birth.
The only answer to this kind of automatic learning from birth could be attributed to memory transfer through genes. This transgenerational inheritance that occurs within rodents not only brings with it massive survival advantage, but also comes with the automatic use of instincts, fear and wisdom of the ancestors.
Impact of transfer of memory though genes in human beings
So how does this research apply to human beings? If transgenerational inheritance turns out to be true, we could gain a deeper insight into instinct and why your instinctive actions would be different from your friend.
The discovery could finally answer the age-old question of what is instinct! Maybe it is an inherited ancestral memory of some bad experience which warns us and guides us in the present. This could help us understand why many people have phobias, anxiety disorders and also explain certain kinds of post-traumatic stress disorders.
For transgenerational inheritance, the parents or ancestors of a child must have the memory of a traumatic experience and this must have an impact on their genetic material, which is then transferred to the child through DNA.
Some of us may also have a natural fear of heights because of a traumatic experience faced by any one of our ancestors whose genetic memory has come down to us. However, this does not always have to be negative.
How many artists do you know who was born naturally talented at a skill? This could also be an ancestral fitted into the genetic material of the artist. Your skills of problem-solving skills or drawing may be derived from a memory of the long-lost artist whose memory has come down and become a part of you.
Professor Wolf Reik of the Babraham Institute in Cambridge has stated that further work is required in this field before applying such results to human beings. But such results are encouraging and would help to make more detailed studies on animal processes.
Perhaps, we hold within us the long-lost cosmic knowledge of our ancestors hidden within our own genes waiting to be unlocked.