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Thread: Epigenetics - Can we inherit "memories"?

  1. #1
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    Epigenetics - Can we inherit "memories"?

    I was having an Internet discussion with a friend about a tendency towards aggression in dogs, is it due to experiences or are genetic factors involved which can be passed on through poor breeding practices?
    I had vaguely heard about the ability to inherit memories and she mentioned it in relation to dog aggression, possibly memory experiences being passed on to subsequent generations of dogs, but it applies more widely of course.

    http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3...=MAQEAlHtZ&s=1

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    Interesting idea, could this drive the theory of Evolution?

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    I have no special knowledge about the subject but cannot prevent me from giving an opinion, specially in a sub-forum with weak activity.

    In the animal aggressivity, there are a lot of balanced factors specific to each species and a few according to the natural and domestic races, and there are a lot of interference between factors.
    The factors are
    - genetic which are normally transmitted inchanged thru the generation except rare mutations. the same control allele could have different effects according to the other factors.
    - environmental, the most important in the life duration are those of the pregancy and first enfance. But present factors have also a great role by activating memories and gene activating and controlling factors
    - epigenetic : there is no memory in the meaning of the nervous memory, but methylisation and demethylisation of loci which influence the activation and the control of the genes.

    Definition wiki of epigenetics
    Epigenetics studies genetic effects not encoded in the DNA sequence of an organism, hence the prefix epi- (Greek: επί- over, outside of, around).[1][2] Such effects on cellular and physiological phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells express genes.[3][4] These alterations may or may not be heritable, although the use of the term epigenetic to describe processes that are heritable is controversial.

    Finally, When I re-read the definition, I am not sure it is the same that we guess when we speak of epigenetics. While here, it speaks of the result from external and environmental factors, we think about biochemical factors linked around the DNA and trasmissible to children although in the DNA chain and they could be reversible some generations later, maybe due to a new change in the environment.

    For a dog the genetic factors are selected by the success of survival by males, by competitions between males and by female choices. Normall, the competition favorizes the most aggressive ones, but a bad-controlled aggressivity by excessive hormonal factors or new mutations could be disastrous in the life and also create a female reject. In some primitive human ethnics, the lunatic clan chief can be killed by his clan or abandonned to the ennemies (by secret agreement or not).

    The environment and educational factors of the dogs are well known.

    I don't know if the epigenetics have an action in the dog aggressivity, but we can imagine the long-timed hungers and/or repeated stresses could start a biochemical action which gives an epigenetic effect transmitted to few following generations and prepared them to a difficult and stressing environment.

    We must distinguish the real epigenetic transmission and a probable darwinian selection transmitted by ADN of the conditions of activity of the biochemical process of methylisation and methylisation of the ADN loci. The epigenetic effects are not transmited for ever but the process of the epigenetic biochimistry is transmitted by ADN for ever.
    Last edited by palamede; 10-11-2016 at 11:51 AM. Reason: some additions

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    Quote Originally Posted by palamede View Post
    I have no special knowledge about the subject but cannot prevent me from giving an opinion, specially in a sub-forum with weak activity.

    In the animal aggressivity, there are a lot of balanced factors specific to each species and a few according to the natural and domestic races, and there are a lot of interference between factors.
    The factors are
    - genetic which are normally transmitted inchanged thru the generation except rare mutations. the same control allele could have different effects according to the other factors.
    - environmental, the most important in the life duration are those of the pregancy and first enfance. But present factors have also a great role by activating memories and gene activating and controlling factors
    - epigenetic : there is no memory in the meaning of the nervous memory, but methylisation and demethylisation of loci which influence the activation and the control of the genes.

    Definition wiki of epigenetics
    Epigenetics studies genetic effects not encoded in the DNA sequence of an organism, hence the prefix epi- (Greek: επί- over, outside of, around).[1][2] Such effects on cellular and physiological phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells express genes.[3][4] These alterations may or may not be heritable, although the use of the term epigenetic to describe processes that are heritable is controversial.

    Finally, When I re-read the definition, I am not sure it is the same that we guess when we speak of epigenetics. While here, it speaks of the result from external and environmental factors, we think about biochemical factors linked around the DNA and trasmissible to children although in the DNA chain and they could be reversible some generations later, maybe due to a new change in the environment.

    For a dog the genetic factors are selected by the success of survival by males, by competitions between males and by female choices. Normall, the competition favorizes the most aggressive ones, but a bad-controlled aggressivity by excessive hormonal factors or new mutations could be disastrous in the life and also create a female reject. In some primitive human ethnics, the lunatic clan chief can be killed by his clan or abandonned to the ennemies (by secret agreement or not).

    The environment and educational factors of the dogs are well known.

    I don't know if the epigenetics have an action in the dog aggressivity, but we can imagine the long-timed hungers and/or repeated stresses could start a biochemical action which gives an epigenetic effect transmitted to few following generations and prepared them to a difficult and stressing environment.

    We must distinguish the real epigenetic transmission and a probable darwinian selection transmitted by ADN of the conditions of activity of the biochemical process of methylisation and methylisation of the ADN loci. The epigenetic effects are not transmited for ever but the process of the epigenetic biochimistry is transmitted by ADN for ever.
    Very interesting. I should just clarify we were discussing a tendency towards aggression in relation to domesticated dogs and dog breeds, where "natural selection" doesn't really apply to the same extent because people usually make the decisions about breeding. People often say in relation to the behaviour of domestic dogs "it's how they are brought up", i.e, entirely a product of environment. I used to say this myself, but I now don't believe it is entirely true, although it is important. Possibly environment affects the triggering or not of certain responses which may or may not already be in the DNA?

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    This chart (on human heritability of personality traits) might be a useful talking piece:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gn...vioral-traits/
     

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    Isn't instinct the innate ability to react. Could instinct be considered long term memory inbedded in the DNA?

    I remember as a young chap deciding to take a year off and go sailing. Didn't know aft from stern, but having attributes of high risk behavior, I was not deterred. Went out and purchased a 42' sloop with a 12 HP Westerbeke diesel. Purred like a kitten when it worked. It absolutely hated the cold and shooting it up with liquid ether was quite interesting.

    I digress, found an Old Salt who could sail blind to instruct me in the ways of the sea and how to put three sheets to the wind. I learned not to say back of the boat and used stern. I'm on a roll, took the till with O.S. and it felt as if I had done this before. I could feel the wind, water and boat and felt instinctively how to keep them in sync. It was an exhilarating as well as strange experience. Even Old Salt was impressed.

    Could this innate sailing ability be inherited from some past ancestor? Maybe all the abilities required for sailing just lined up perfectly in my DNA? Interesting subject requiring more input. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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    Lol reminds me so much of Assassins Creed 'genetic memory'
    Last edited by SWAHILLI_PRINCE16; 10-11-2016 at 06:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amerijoe View Post
    Isn't instinct the innate ability to react. Could instinct be considered long term memory inbedded in the DNA?

    I remember as a young chap deciding to take a year off and go sailing. Didn't know aft from stern, but having attributes of high risk behavior, I was not deterred. Went out and purchased a 42' sloop with a 12 HP Westerbeke diesel. Purred like a kitten when it worked. It absolutely hated the cold and shooting it up with liquid ether was quite interesting.

    I digress, found an Old Salt who could sail blind to instruct me in the ways of the sea and how to put three sheets to the wind. I learned not to say back of the boat and used stern. I'm on a roll, took the till with O.S. and it felt as if I had done this before. I could feel the wind, water and boat and felt instinctively how to keep them in sync. It was an exhilarating as well as strange experience. Even Old Salt was impressed.

    Could this innate sailing ability be inherited from some past ancestor? Maybe all the abilities required for sailing just lined up perfectly in my DNA? Interesting subject requiring more input. Anyone else have a similar experience?
    I've always liked animals and the countryside even as a small child but wasn't brought up with any pets. Now I have cats, dogs and chickens etc. Nearly all my ancestors were farmers or farm labourers. It may be nothing to do with it, but you do wonder where some of these inclinations come from. John

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    I've always liked animals and the countryside even as a small child but wasn't brought up with any pets. Now I have cats, dogs and chickens etc. Nearly all my ancestors were farmers or farm labourers. It may be nothing to do with it, but you do wonder where some of these inclinations come from. John
    John, having those critters around I'll bet feels good and natural. Some people have the ability to easily relate with animals. Some others have the direct opposite effect, animals become uneasy. We all may have noticed this difference. Is it another inbedded memory in our DNA?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amerijoe View Post
    John, having those critters around I'll bet feels good and natural. Some people have the ability to easily relate with animals. Some others have the direct opposite effect, animals become uneasy. We all may have noticed this difference. Is it another inbedded memory in our DNA?
    I was told that as a baby I always used to watch the birds and was very serious - you never know I suppose. You know that feeling you have been somewhere previously, but you haven't? Maybe it's just imagination.

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