Good or bad experience gained by the father will be inherited by his children and even grandchildren. For example, if a man drowned, it is likely that his son will be afraid of water. And the son of his son too. If he died from fire, some members of the future generations of his family will be afraid of fire. Similarly, the subsequent generations may inherit even love to certain products and activities.
In other words, the offspring can inherit experience acquired by previous generations. In fact, they inherit the memory of those or other events. Nonsense? Not at all. The fact that such a phenomenon exists was proven by biologists of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University.
Kerry Ressler and Brian Dias conducted a surprising experiment, which was described in the journal Nature Neuroscience. They connected electrical wires to the floor of the room in which there were male mice. Periodically the current was switched on, and mice hurt and ran away.
Electric shocks on the legs of mice were accompanied with the smell of bird cherry, specifically acetophenone, the main component of this smell. After a series of repeated experiments, the scientists stopped tormenting the animals with electricity but continued spraying the acetophenone. Having smelled it, mice trembled and ran away from the “deadly” bird cherry.
The most interesting happened in the next phase. The mice that took part in the experiment gave offspring that were never faced with electricity and have never smelled bird cherry. After they grew up a bit, the scientists gave them acetophenone. The little mice reacted exactly as their fathers! That is, they startled, jumped up and ran away.
Then the experiment was repeated on the second generation of mice that inherited the fear of bird cherry and showed the same results! The scientists suggest that the memory of the ancestors is preserved even by the great-grandchildren. And maybe even by the great-great-grandchildren. Although it is not sure yet.
The memory of the ancestors
It would be rational to assume that the male mice hit with electric current and frightened by the smell of bird cherry in an unknown way shared their experience with the little mice in the communication process. However, several series of experiments involved mice that were conceived in vitro and never met their biological fathers. But they also were put off by acetophenone, as if expecting an electric shock.
There is no explanation for this phenomenon yet. There is only a hypothesis that the transfer of experience involves epigenetic mechanisms, which depend on the degree of methylation of certain DNA fragments. This in turn leads to the changes in the structure of neurons in the particular areas of the brain. Their new configuration is the one to provide a particular reaction to events.
It seems that the degree of methylation is transmitted through sperm, that is, in the male line. And thus the experience is inherited, creating brain structures that are necessary for the implementation of the experience of the ancestors.
Déjà vu phenomenon can be explained by the DNA memory
The colleagues of Ressler and Dias believe that revealing the mechanism of transferring the memory of the ancestors, it will be possible to understand the nature of phobias and other mental disorders.
Moreover, it could help explain the mysterious phenomena of the mind, for example, cases when people suddenly start speaking foreign languages or playing musical instruments they never learnt or talking about events that happened long ago and far away. What if the memory of the ancestors is responsible for such phenomena? And finally, can it explain déjà vu? When a person thinks that what is happening to him right now already happened in the past… What if it really did?