Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace? 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the finally-an-explanation-for-the-hamburgler dept.
gallifreyan99 writes "Scientists have spent decades trying to understand and fix social problems like violence and alcoholism, usually focusing on the poor and disadvantaged. But now a small band of researchers is claiming that biology plays a vitally important role — because trauma can change you at a genetic level that gets passed on to kids, grandkids, and perhaps even beyond." Part of the research involved testing the effect of stress on the genetics of mice. A number of mice were subjected to stressful situations and then allowed to raise their children. The children, when later subjected to stress, were more vulnerable to it than normal mice (for example, they would stop struggling in a potentially fatal situation earlier than 'happy' mice). This was expected. What's interesting is that when those children were later bred with normal mice, and that third generation was raised by normal mice (so that parental neglect wasn't a factor), they still showed the same vulnerability to stress. A subsequent generation showed the same.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace?

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Curious (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @05:42PM (#46280475)
    People with religious insanity, or any other delusional belief, will try to shoehorn facts into their delusion. Passing traits to your children and grandchildren does not have anything to do with anyone's superstitions.
  • by kaliann (1316559) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @05:52PM (#46280567)

    In the broad general understanding that the environment can induce acquired changes that can then be inherited, yes. It's called epigenetics, and it's a fascinating field, wherein modification of packaging on DNA affects how and when it is read.

    In the specifics of pretty much any of the claims made by Lamarckian adaptation, no, that's bunk.

    One of the major differences is that epigenetic changes aren't always adaptive; that is, they aren't necessarily helpful to the organism's reproductive success. These changes can result from environmental stresses as a kind of "side effect", and the change affects later generations. Epigenetic changes are inherited, but they can be reversed in as little as a generation or passed on, and they are never responsible for new transcripts or proteins being produced. They modify amounts and timing of products from existing genes - and that's impressive - but they do not introduce novel products on a cellular level, the way changes in genetic code does.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

Working...