MEMORY STORAGE IN THE DNA
Researches at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, believe they have found evidence that memories might be passed down through generations in our DNA. In an article published in Nature entitled Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations they examine the inheritance of parental traumatic exposure, that is to say the progeny or offspring remember the trauma or stressful experience that their parents were exposed to. It seems that researchers in the field come across evidence of this quite often, but it is poorly understood how this can possibly occur. Somehow the memory of the traumatic experience must be passed on in the genes.
In their paper the researchers describe how they condition the parent mice to fear a certain odor, in this case the smell of cherry blossom, and not only did the next two generations of their progeny specifically fear this same odor, but the researchers state that they observed “an enhanced neuroanatomical representation” of the specific gene for the olfactory receptor. In other words this specific fear had somehow become encoded in the DNA that went on into the progeny.
This research suggests that experiences are transferred from the brain into the genome, and these researchers are now continuing their studies to try to understand how information about life experiences could possibly come to be stored in the DNA. Specifically how can it be that our memories are stored in the genetic material that becomes passed on to subsequent generations. I feel I can contribute to this debate in two ways. Firstly it is now known that human thought can actually change the genes, and secondly the very architecture of the DNA packaged in the chromosomes strongly suggests that the DNA is actually made up of millions and millions of memristors, which is actually a new form of memory storage actually being developed in the computer industry. I shall deal with these two aspects in turn.