Genetic memory: What secrets does it hold?

As humans we have long debated nature vs. nurture and how much information parents actually transmit to their children genetically to understand memory and heredity.

The post is a very brief discussion on Genetic memory.

“There is absolutely no doubt that what happens to the sperm and egg will affect subsequent generations.”

The article from which this quote is drawn comes from an article from BBC News December 2013

I have been pondering this since Maha Al Musa posted this article last month on Facebook. See Maha at

Our quest for knowledge

Modern (and not so modern) science it very clever at asking and answering questions. I love that what we do know so far in our quest for knowledge and understanding of human biology and psychology is minuscule.

There is so much more that we do not know, cannot measure or understand compared to what has been so far “discovered” tested and documented.

I am fascinated by the concept of genetic memory and believe it holds the secrets to many human conditions we simply cannot wrap our linear brains around. I agree with the BBC article in that we need to take a more multi generational approach to research into health.

Beyond the physical

We need to look beyond physical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease and to me genetic memory holds many answers to our questions about emotional and mental health, phobias, and patterns of destructive behaviors in families.

Molecular biologist and geneticist, Moshe Szye, hypothesized that traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA.

Like silt deposited on the cogs of a finely tuned machine after the seawater of a tsunami recedes, our experiences, and those of our forebears, are never gone, even if they have been forgotten. They become a part of us, a molecular residue holding fast to our genetic scaffolding. The DNA remains the same, but psychological and behavioral tendencies are inherited. You might have inherited not just your grandmother’s knobby knees, but also her predisposition toward depression caused by the neglect she suffered as a newborn. (1)

Nature vs Nurture

As humans we have long debated nature vs. nurture and how much information parents actually transmit to their children genetically to understand memory and heredity.

Experiments have been conducted to provided evidence that memories are one of many things our forbearers passed down to us through our DNA

A book written by “the Ancestral Continuum” examines this concept more deeply (5)

Discovering more about our forebears and identifying inherited traits can help us realise our potential and assist us in overcoming obstacles that may be holding us back. As we learn about our ancestors, we can reclaim who we are, discover our creativity, and find our true soul path. In this extraordinary book, readers will find out how to: heal their family histories, reveal inherited creative and inspirational gifts, discover their guardian ancestors, and learn from inspiring case studies of personal growth.

Often the modern medical fraternity will scoff at notions such as genetic memory because it cannot be easily measured. (Let’s face it who would fund such research? There is no financial incentive for our drug companies to explore the concept.)

I have seen things…

I have witnessed examples of knowledge, memories or phenomena that cannot be explained. First hand, I have met an Australian woman who speaks with a French accent following a stroke. She has never been to France or learnt the language. The accent is a new phenomenon since her stroke.

What about organ recipients who acquire memories formerly held by their organ donor?

Where do some of our dreams come from?

Why do identical twins separated at birth often share seemingly unexpected memories, preferences, fears or tastes?

How do we explain Savant Syndrome?

What particularly interests me about genetic memory is the impact it has on women and babies in pregnancy, labour, birth and breastfeeding. This is why we are so interested in the birthing woman’s family birth history. We look for cues, trends.

Why does labour start or stop for seemingly no measurable physical reason? Why does one family birth spontaneously? Why do a succession of woman, her daughter and her granddaughter all have difficulty feeding with no apparent physical reason?

I believe it to be more than physiology.

I also believe it is more than the attitude our mothers taught us about birth.

Studies have shown that survivors of traumatic events may have effects in subsequent generations.There are theories that the chemicals released by the mother during a traumatic birth can be fundamental in altering an individual. (4)

Surely the opposite applies. I assert that a pregnancy, birth or postnatal period in which a woman is supported in a safe, empowering, spiritually encompassing way has a positive healthy impact on future generations.

My by line in my home birthing days was Peaceful birth, peace on earth.

Further Reading / References


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