QDNA® Blog | Total Recall: The Memory Of Your Genes

Trait Vs. Fate And The Incredible Genetic Inheritance of Your DNA

Date: Wednesday, December 31, 1969 @ 04:00 PM
Author : Marina Rose, QDNA®

“I began to ration my writing, for fear I would dream through life as my father had done. I was afraid I had inherited a poisoned gene from him, a vocation without a gift." -- Mavis Gallant

Have you ever wondered why, as we imperceptibly transition from the free, unencumbered and ever-changing nature of childhood, into the more rigid, well defined, personal characteristics of our adulthood, we increasingly find ourselves appearing more and more like our parents and even our grandparents before them?

From 1990 to 2003, using rooms of “house-sized” computers less powerful than the iPhones and Androids that we now carry around in our pockets today, a consortium of the world’s best geneticists set out on a grand project to answer this question. It was called The Human Genome Project, and what they learned not only changed the fields of biology and medicine forever, but their revolutionary discoveries launched a brand new field of science that set us firmly on the path to solving this riddle and so much more.

It’s called Epigenetics, and this cutting-edge new science has revolutionized our understanding of human biology, scientifically affirming what Eastern Medicine and Alternative Healers have always long known—that our DNA has Total Recall—and our Mom's, Dad's and Grandma's experiences—and even their thoughts, feelings and beliefs-- leave a lasting Epigenetic mark on our genes.

And guess what? Studies suggest that it doesn’t stop with just Mom, Dad and Grandma either.

In first of its kind data, stunning new research from the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in Spain has uncovered Epigenetic markers that go back over fourteen generations—the largest span ever observed in nature to date--suggesting that in the bigger evolutionary picture of human history, the Epigenetic markers that are     to us likely go back much further than that.

Think Homo Sapiens dodging unimaginable dangers as they roamed the African Savannah some 200,000 years ago. Now that’s real life or death survival and perhaps the deepest source of our impeccable human instinct.

Trait vs. Fate: Darwin, Freud And The Memory Of Our Genes

Epigenetics, meaning “above-the-gene”, is the groundbreaking new field of science that studies changes in our gene expression that do not directly involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence or “code”, in turn affecting how cells read the genetic information, a process called methylation, with the ability to affect how genes “turn off” and “on” in response to non-genetic factors.

Although the DNA code that we’re born with may not change throughout our lifetime, new scientific research now shows that the way this code is expressed actually does—with gene expression changing throughout our life--being flexible and not written in stone.

In fact, Epigenetic studies now show that our gene expression is influenced and changed by a whole host of factors—from environment, diet and nutrition, to lifestyle factors such as exercise and mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. Even our thoughts, emotions and beliefs all have a profound effect on our Epigenetic gene expression, creating a strong impact on our overall health and well-being with dramatic implications for optimizing wellness, as well as understanding and treating illness.

In addition, not only are we gaining tremendous insights on health and wellness, but these studies are also beginning to help us unravel many of the mysteries of our own personalities, helping to solve the age-old riddle of why we so often see our family and cultural characteristics mirrored in our own personal traits.

Although revolutionary breakthroughs in the field of genetics, such as the Human Genome Project, have spawned highly advanced tools that have set Epigenetics on course to be one of the most critically important emerging new fields of science today, the study of gene expression is actually not new, having a very long and storied history that dates back for nearly three centuries when naturalists and biologists first began pondering the riddle of how traits are passed down between generations.

No doubt the seeds of Epigenetic science were definitively sown in the mid to late 19th Century by the naturalist Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary biology, whose ideas not only revolutionized the science of the day—but also spawned an ideological revolution that has arguably influenced every other aspect of modern society as a whole.

To strengthen his Theory of Evolution by natural selection as an explanation for biological adaptation and specialization, and better explain the incredibly vast variety and variation seen in living species, Darwin proposed a heredity biological process he termed Pangenesis, whereby characteristics were passed from one generation to another by the production of what he identified as gemmules, hypothesized minute particles of inheritance containing proteins produced in the parent’s cells, allowing some characteristics to dominate if they gained advantage in number over others.

The Epigenetic seed in Darwin’s Pangenesis theory is that Darwin proposed that the number and type of gemmules produced in the body were not fixed, but rather would change over time depending on environmental conditions. And although Darwin’s Pangenesis was ultimately incorrect in its details, the notion that traits are both developed and passed down as a by-product of environment and lifestyle is at the very core of modern Epigenetic theory today.

Likewise, for years, many have also attributed the origin of Epigenetics to an earlier 18th Century naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, in part because many of his theories predated the publication of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, however it was actually Darwin who formalized the notion in terms of presenting a proposed and well defined biological process as the means for which characteristic inheritance occurs. And although Darwin and Lamarck shared many views in common, they also disagreed on many others, however both men can be equally credited with one thing for sure--that is that they were unquestionably immensely instrumental in creating a profound shift in both the scientific and cultural acceptance of dramatically different views of the time—views of just how it is that life originated on Earth--and how it came to be the way it is today.

These early seeds of Epigenetics were generally well received and reinforced by an abundance of seemingly convincing demonstrations in nature. A good example being the giraffe. The theory goes that since for generations giraffes were required to extend their necks in search of food high up in the trees, successive generations of giraffes would then reach for even higher trees, and in turn, pass on increasingly longer and more elaborate necks as this environmental adaptation affected the genetics of future generations.

However, for many, the fast and easy examples of physical evolutionary traits that are seen in nature, although numerous, still didn’t explain the type of behavioral traits that we see passed from one generation to another, and for over a hundred years opposing views on this have led to what has now come to be known as the great debate on “nature vs. nurture”–meaning is it biology or psychology--genetics or learned behavior--that influences our personal characteristics most--not only individually, but across multiple generations as well.

It’s not surprising that in some circles, the debate still rages on to this day.

Arguably the “nature vs. nurture” debate began in earnest between the opposing views of Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud, the 19th century neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis who became a towering figure in the world of modern psychology.

According to Freud, whose Theory of Personality attributed most personal characteristics to early childhood development and parental upbringing, the way we are nurtured in early childhood--not genetics--has its strongest influence on the character traits that we later develop.

Like Freud, proponents of “nurture” point to countless well documented cases to support this side of the debate--for instance, the many studies of Identical Twins—who biologically are born with the precisely the same genes, yet when separated at birth, grow to be completely unalike in personality and behavior as adults, exemplifying the nature vs. nurture debate by demonstrating how identical genes can produce such completely different results.

It also creates additional fuel for thought regarding the ongoing debate amongst psychologists that is often referred to as “Trait vs. Fate”. Is our psychological make-up a product of Darwinian inheritance or Freudian fate and upbringing?

It’s like the old joke bantered around by psychologists and biologists at cocktail parties and scientific conferences for years: One Identical Twin is a mathematical genius but can’t draw a stick figure if you paid him. The the other is a musical maestro but can barely divide by four.

Is it “nature or nurture”, Darwin or Freud-- genes or mothering?

As the debate rages on a few hundred years later, simple analogies such as these do make for a good laugh, however today we know that genetics and personality development are far more complex than that, and the emerging field of Behavioral Epigenetics aims to help finally solve this long fought debate once and for all.

Total Recall | The Genetic Nature Of Our Beliefs

For decades now, with modern research tools never before available, geneticists have been exploring the riddles of what scientists call Genetic Inheritance and Epigenetic Inheritance, the two processes by which genetic information passes from one generation to another.

In Genetic Inheritance, physical and biological traits are passed from parents to offspring through DNA encoding.

For instance, traits like: tall, green eyes, red hair, and face full of freckles.

Epigenetic Inheritance on the other hand, revolutionizes the idea that inheritance happens not only through the DNA code at the genetic level, but rather shows us that even our parent's experiences, thoughts and beliefs, in the form of epigenetic tags, can also be passed down to future generations.

Think: tall, green eyes, red hair, face full of freckles—and fear of heights.

The process is now referred to as Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance and groundbreaking new research in the field has been critical to understanding the connection between how genes, environment, emotions, beliefs and neurobiological programming all work together to determine how our genes are expressed to shape who we are--and what we become.

For many years now, we’ve long known that that experiencing trauma can permanently alter the psychological and emotional wellbeing of a person, and a great body of research has been conducted on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) to support this. However, what we’re now finding out is that these psychological and emotional scars from stress and trauma can be so indelible that they are also passed on to the children of those affected—not just psychologically—but deep at the genetic level as well.

In a compelling supportive research study of this type of Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance of trauma, Dr. Rachel Yehuda, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and the Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has been conducting tests with families of Holocaust survivors. In line with other similar trauma studies, Dr. Yehuda found that decedents of the Holocaust who were tested had much higher stress profiles than those of their peers, resulting in much lower immune systems and predisposing them to a wide variety anxiety and emotional disorders.

During this study Dr. Yehuda and her team worked with nearly forty families of the Holocaust looking at gene expression of FKBP5, a stress-related gene that has been associated with PTSD and depression in other studies. The team found clear indication of Epigenetic markers of the trauma in the form of neurological changes in the brain that were passed on directly to the children, consistently producing significantly greater instances of stress, anxiety and emotional imbalances--as compared to other Jewish families who were not directly affected by the Holocaust during the Second World War.

To validate the results, the researchers were actively searching to find the specific biological process responsible for the increased anxiety and emotional stress—at the genetic level—and they found it-- but it was not at all what they thought.

It turns out that the Holocaust survivors had far lower levels of cortisol than expected, the infamous hormone dubbed “public enemy number one” that is released in high levels during stress.

In the data from the survivor’s children, just like their parents, very low levels of cortisol were also present--particularly if their mothers had active PTSD, and aaccording to Dr. Yehuda, “The gene changes in the children [that were seen] could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents.

Like with other similar PTSD studies, the initial reaction was one of curiosity that cortisol levels would be found to be so low—because if anything one would expect cortisol levels to be high as a result of any stress disorder—since increased cortisol is typically associated with stress.

However, although most of us know that too much cortisol is harmful—what we don’t often hear about is that too little of it is harmful as well.

Low cortisol actually prevents the body’s ability to return to pre-trauma or pre-stress “normal”, and it’s this inability to normalize back from stress that becomes the biological process responsible for the Epigenetic changes in the Holocaust survivors and their offspring, as their low cortisol levels make them remain in a state of constant and prolonged stress.

The study was a breakthrough in Behavioral Epigenetics, producing one of the most persuasive scientific results to date in human subjects that demonstrate how our life experiences are transferred from the brain (memory) into the genome (DNA)—transgenrationally—confirming how past traumatic experiences—and those of our ancestors—leave deep molecular scars that adhere to our genes.

Whether its great-grandparents who survived the ravages of the Holocaust, or the fight to escape the bondage of human traffickers that plague men and women of the world today—every trauma—be it cultural or deeply personal--such as growing up with addictive, abusive or alcoholic parents—carries with it so much more than simply memories.

In this new understanding of the reality of genetics, we now know that our genes and DNA do not exclusively control our biology; instead our DNA is equally influenced by nonlocal signals, commands or communication from outside the cell, including our physical environment—as well as the energetic messages that are being telegraphed from our “emotional environment”--by either our positive or negative emotions, thoughts and beliefs.

Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, have been closely studying just how it is that this type of nonlocal genetic information can be inherited biologically and passed down through chemical changes that occur in DNA, something that until recently has never been accepted by mainstream science as possible.

In one recent test conducted with mice, Emory researchers honed in on how very specific fears, for instance, can be passed through Epigenetic Inheritance.

For the first time in targeted lab experiments, the Emory team scientifically demonstrated that learned information about specific traumatic or stressful experiences can in fact be passed to subsequent generations, and the offspring instinctively demonstrate the same stress and fear experienced by their parents-- even though they did not directly experience the trauma themselves.

Dr. Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory School of Medicine, who along Dr. Brian Dias, PhD from Emory’s Department of Psychiatry, conducted the study that was published in Nature Neuroscience.

To isolate and test for something as specific as an inherited emotion such as fear, Dr. Dias and Dr. Ressler trained mice to become afraid of a particular odor by combining exposure to the odor with a mild electric shock. The researchers leveraged earlier research on the biology of odor detection, exposing the mice to the chemical acetophenone, which smells somewhat like a cherry blossom and was previously shown to activate a particular set of "odorant receptor" genes in the nose in prior research, making it a good substance for the test.

Surprisingly, when the researchers exposed the offspring of the test mice to the same order—but without the accompanying shock--much to their surprise the offspring trembled and became fearful just like the parents did—just from the smell alone--and often more so than the parent who experienced the electric shock directly.

What’s more, the fearful response in the offspring was able to be triggered by even smaller amounts of the order than what was used with the parents, indicating an even greater sensitivity in the Epigenetic inherited response.

As a control, Dr. Dias and Dr. Ressler also conducted separate experiments not involving odors, to test the offspring’s overall anxiety levels and found that the offspring were not at all more anxious in general, simply anxious and fearful of the trigger order, with the supplemental experiments validating the original test definitively.

When looking closely at the data in search for the biological process that was behind this inherited fear, the researchers noted that both parent and offspring demonstrated clear changes in physiology, with greater space produced the olfactory bulb than normal--the section of their brains responsible for smell-processing. They also found that both mothers and fathers had the ability to pass on this fearful sensitivity equally.

In the father mine, the researchers discovered that DNA modifications in their sperm became altered from its normal state in several ways-- a clear example of Epigenetic changes. Mothers, for their part, were not able to pass on this smell induced fear with fostered offspring, demonstrating that the sensitivity was not something passed on by social interaction, but rather was Epigenetically inherited—a very important distinction—especially given the ongoing nature vs. nurture-trait vs. fate debate.

Dr. Dias says: “From a translational perspective, our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent--before even conceiving offspring--markedly influences both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations.”

In effect, the study helps to scientifically confirm that we're not all mad when we think we see our parents and our grandparent’s traits, beliefs and behaviors in ourselves, often even despite our own best efforts to avoid them.

Of course, not all traits we want to avoid. However, gene inheritance, as the old saying goes, is both a blessing and curse. Our DNA's Total Recall can just as easily give us courage, talent and extraordinary athletic ability, as it can fear, phobias, anxiety, and poor health. And the science is there to prove it.

The Emory research has been incredibly well received by the scientific community and continues to expand with additional research studies from other groups as well.

Dr. Marcus Pembrey PhD, a Pediatric Geneticist and Professor at University College London, said the work of the Emory team provided “compelling evidence” for Epigenetics Inheritance and the “biological transmission” of nonlocal information in the form of stored memory, and many see it as is yet another example of our complex neurobiological programming at work.

As Behavioral Epigenetics carries this research further to better understand just how it is that nonlocal experiential information seen in these studies can be stored on the DNA in the first place, many experts on the leading edge of both Epigenetics and Quantum Biology suggest that we not only look at the biological processes of how this can be done, but also look to the quantum realm for many of the other answers.

Cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD, is one of the leading authorities on Epigenetics, and the author of the best-selling book The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles, where he outlines the scientific basis of the dramatic effects that beliefs and emotions can have in regulating gene expression.

Dr. Lipton explains that the key to effecting change in gene expression is not only understanding the DNA response to physical environmental factors, which has long been accepted amongst traditional medical science, but also understanding that this "environment" that our genes respond to also includes our conscious thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs that we have as well. The “environment” of the body is the sum of all of these things.

Dr. Lipton says: “Gene activity can change on a daily basis. The perception in your mind is reflected in the chemistry of your body, and if your nervous system reads and interprets the environment and then controls the blood chemistry, then you can literally change the fate of your cells simply by altering your thoughts.”

In fact, according to Dr. Lipton, research illustrates that changes in our biological “environment” can produce over thirty thousand variations of expression from each of our genes, as they alter the body’s neurobiological chemistry in response to it’s new “environment”.

What’s more, Dr. Lipton suggests that the body’s “network of intelligence” points to a vast array of complex genetic programs that are contained within the nucleus of our cells and offers compelling evidence that we can rewrite these genetic programs by changing our neurobiological chemistry.

As research in Quantum Coherence has shown us, this combined physical and emotional environment produces our neurobiological “environment” of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences that ultimately shape the outcome of our overall Quantum Biology and determine our ability to shift in and out of Quantum Coherence. Understanding the role of Epigenetics in affecting our gene expression is key.

Dr. Dawson Church, PhD is a best-selling author whose award-winning book, The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, has been praised for its breakthroughs in furthering our understanding of the link between emotions and genetics. Citing literally hundreds of scientific studies in the field, Dr. Church meticulously outlines the science of how our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions trigger DNA expression. He has identified a special class of genes called Immediate Early Genes or IEGs, that literally turn on or off within a few seconds of being triggered by thoughts or emotions—positive or negative.

Dr. Church’s research has enabled him to hone in on many important insights into the role of IEGs and has discovered that these emotionally triggered genes are in fact regulatory genes that control other secondary genes that affect a host of biological functions, including specific functions of our immune system—such as the production of white blood cells, a key element to destroy attacking bacteria and viruses for instance, and other immune responses that are major component to maintaining overall physical health.

Studies such as these mark a quantum leap forward in the prevailing attitudes of medical science and provide further support for leading-edge medical and alternative health techniques such as QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, which recognizes that it's not just our parent’s and grandparent’s memories and beliefs that we inherit, but rather a set of core beliefs, fears and inherited patterns that are passed down from society, culture, and our collective evolutionary memory as well.

Like new grains of sand deposited on the beach with each passing tide, every genetic wave leaves its unique signature in the sand--just like our experiences and those that are passed down to us.

It’s important to remember that cycles of Transgenerational Epigenetics Inheritance underlie not only struggles and weaknesses, but also our strengths and resiliencies too.

Change Your DNA. Instantly Change Your Life,

Now more than ever, new cutting-edge science and revolutionary alternative health modalities are offering us a chance to change our unwanted and unhealthful inherited DNA patterns--and the process behind these principles are now ever more scientifically proven each day.

For those unlucky enough to receive unwanted or unhealthy DNA patterns, emerging new treatments could reset not just your mood, but the Epigenetics of your DNA as well.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s actually not.

Cutting edge science is indeed moving far beyond the beliefs of the old Newtonian world view, which says that we live in a mechanical universe and the body is just a biological machine, and as a biological machine only responds to physical "things", like the active chemicals in drugs. This long-outdated view has spawned such things as chemotherapy and the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry that treats every single known illness with a drug—even the most benign. From cancer to restless leg syndrome, the view has been that drugs are the only cure.

However, things are rapidly shifting, and even traditional science is catching up.

Quantum physics has revealed the flaws in the old Newtonian view of the world, and has shown us that the invisible, immaterial realm is actually far more important than the material realm that we can see. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that thoughts influence the shape of our world far more than any actual physical matter.

The science of Epigenetics is finally shattering the dogma and proving false the notion that are we are stuck with the hand that the genetic cards have dealt us. In fact, we actually have a tremendous amount of control over how our genetic traits are expressed. We quite literally have the ability to change this expression at any time in our lives.

As my motto for QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration® says: Change Your DNA. Instantly Change Your Life™.

QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, Change Your DNA, Instantly Change Your Life.

To explore Epigenetics and QDNA® Quantum Living, follow the latest news, tips and resources at QDNA® What’s New, and learn more about QDNA® Private Sessions to optimize your health and wellness.  Register for monthly QDNA® Events and QDNA® Business and Professional Programs held at locations world-wide each year.

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Marina Rose is the founder and developer of QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, a revolutionary new technique for quantum growth in life and business. QDNA® uses the latest cutting edge science in Neuroplasticity and DNA Reprogramming to develop plans of action that activate solutions for you and your business needs. It compounds Quantum Field principles, Positive Psychology, and Epigenetics, in a powerful new technique to assist you to achieve desired results. Accelerate your life and business now.

This article was written and appears as part of the blog series The Magnificent Human Experience | Explorations of Consciousness And The Human Body.

Images Via: QDNA®/Photo © Robert Daly/Getty

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About | Marina Rose, QDNA®

Marina strongly believes that there is nothing that cannot be healed or transformed when the mind, body and emotions are in balance. From over two decades of professional experience, Marina has developed a broad range of instructional programs, seminars and a complete line of organic products to support health and healthy living.

Marina has also developed highly customized QDNA® Business Programs designed to assist in decoding, reconstructing, and recoding patterns of belief, to literally re-wire the brain for success, improving creativity, innovation, and productivity. These combined personal and professional QDNA® programs offer a unique opportunity to recondition the mind, body and spirit for far reaching and lasting results.

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