PROOF OF MEMORY IN THE DNA
A new study reported in the prestigious journal Cell (June 18, 2015) has found evidence that neurons break their own DNA to enable us to learn and to form memories. Up till know it has widely been assumed that a breakage in the DNA means damage and if the breakage remains then the DNA’s own repair systems are defective.
These researchers have found that “damage” is necessary to allow the expression of the so-called “early response” which are actually responsible for the regulation of processes crucial for the formation of long-lasting memories. The astounding conclusion to be drawn from this research is not only that this break in the DNA of neurons is not “damage” in the normal sense of the word, but also it is the routine process that results in the storage of the memory. The fact that the DNA is altered in this way clearly indicates that the memories are actually stored in the DNA and not in the neural network as has always been assumed.
These lesions or breaks in the DNA are immediately repaired, and what’s more it has been found that these repair systems become less effective in aging subjects which again clearly affirms that it is actually the DNA and not the neurons which are responsible for the storage of memory and thus accounts for the common loss of memory capability later in life. Earlier studies have actually foreshadowed this research when they found that the DNA of mice with Alzheimer’s disease had a significantly large occurrence of these unrepaired breaks or lesions. These earlier studies conducted by Li-Huei Tsai at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found the unrepaired lesions occurred specifically in the hippocampus of these mice which is known precisely to be a region of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
To further test this link between the breakage of the DNA and memory storage the researchers actually isolated neurons in a petri dish and exposed them to an agent that caused these double strand breaks in the DNA. When they examined the DNA in these isolated neurons they found that while the expression of the genes in general had been reduced, astoundingly expression had increased in these early-response genes responsible for memory storage, which would indicate that the DNA had committed this experiment to memory in these dead and lifeless neurons.