September 17


Epigenetics: Why Inheritance Is Weirder Than We Thought

By heheals

September 17, 2020

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Want to learn more about the topic in this week’s video? Here are some keywords/phrases to get your googling started:

epigenetics: genetic control by factors other than an individual’s DNA sequence

epigenetic inheritance: transmittance of information from one generation of an organism to the next that affects the traits of offspring without altering the DNA sequence
Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Omkar Bhagat (@TheCuriousEnggr)
Video Director: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Alex Reich (@alexhreich), Henry Reich (@minutephysics), Peter Reich and Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

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Dias B.G., Ressler, K.J. (2014) Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience 17:89-96.

Holliday, R. (2006). Epigenetics: a historical overview. Epigenetics 1: 76–80.

Jones P.A., Takai D. (2001) The role of DNA methylation in mammalian epigenetics. Science 293: 1068–1070.

Jones S.V., Choi D.C., Davis M., Ressler K.J. (2008) Learning-dependent structural plasticity in the adult olfactory pathway. Journal of Neuroscience 28: 13106–13111.

Kaati G., Bygren L.D., Edvinsson S. (2002) Cardiovascular and diabetes mortality determined by nutrition during parents’ and grandparents’ slow growth period. European Journal of Human Genetics 10: 682 – 688.

Morgan H.D., Sutherland H.G., Martin D.I., Whitelaw E. (1999) Epigenetic inheritance at the agouti locus in the mouse. Nature Genetics 23(3): 314-318.

Pembrey, M. (2002). Time to take epigenetic inheritance seriously. European Journal of Human Genetics 10: 669 – 671.



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  1. If I am chain smoker long enough that should change/mutate my DNA to be able to stand the negatives effect of smoking.
    The DNA passed and and perfected if my child doing the same.

    My little research proofing a kid with chain smoker father has stronger immunity against co2 poisoning and lung infection.
    Maybe not for cancer….

  2. Hey, I have something kind of similar with my mother, there was a piece of fat she didn't want to have to throw away so she tried eating it and threw up and couldn't eat animal fat anymore, both of my parents could eat it fine, but I think my mother having this change has definitely effected me as I can not eat fat without gagging, so maybe it can affect other people too.

  3. Don't starve ur kids for future generations but if u urself want to do ot i think is ok if there is a chance, for thousands of years people have fasted for religion purposes (religious leader made them fast during famine and winter time because there wasn't enough food and they didn't want a revolt against who ever was incharge…) ut fasting at least has benefits plus u get ur body used to spending energy while u have an empty stomach might come in handy…

  4. Is it safe to say that in human applications, what my grand parents feared that hindered them in their full potential and happiness is also passed down 6 generations later? Reasons why some (Sad to say most) are unhappy with the current situation of their lives and got stuck with no purpose.

  5. Probably why there are so many people afraid of snakes and spiders.  After people saw so many they knew die from just a bite they probably became deathly terrified of those animals and passed down that fear.

  6. Good ol' biology, just as you start thinking you have things figured out, there's an exception or things get more complicated. On the upside, biochemistry is probably the fastest progressing branch of science right now because there is just so much to work with.

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