Well, these findings are sure to fuel the whole nature vs. nurture debate.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found that genetic faults caused by trauma, poor lifestyle, or environmental stress can be passed down to future generations.
While the same genes are passed down through generations, the scientists found that our DNA is actually being altered by our environment, lifestyle, and traumatic events we experience. That’s kind of a big deal; these changes can invite disease, premature aging, and an early death.
The thing is, it was previously believed that such things couldn’t be passed down to future generations.
The scientists at the University of Cambridge found that some areas of DNA – including those linked to mental illness and obesity – carry lifestyle faults. Five per cent of our genetic code is impacted from past events.What this means for you is that trauma, poor diet, and poor lifestyle choices can affect your future children and grandchildren in a bad way if you’re not careful.
“The information needs to be reset in every generation before further information is added to regulate development of a newly fertilized egg. It’s like erasing a computer disk before you add new data,” said Professor Azim Surani, from the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge.
Between week two and week nine of the development of an embryo, the genetic code is being rewritten to erase genetic alterations from the parents (and some little embryos have more work to do in that department than others).
The researchers found that this process does not wipe the slate clean of all changes. That stubborn 5 per cent is apparently resistant to the reprogramming.
The researchers believe that these regions of the genome contain some genes that are especially active in neuronal cells, which may serve important functions during development.
The reason you should care is that those genes are typically associated with conditions like schizophrenia, metabolic disorders, and obesity.
Just some Friday food for thought…