Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children’s genes

Contentious but interesting article:

[From The Guardian]

New finding is first example in humans of the theory of epigenetic inheritance: the idea that environmental factors can affect the genes of your children.

Genetic changes stemming from the trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors are capable of being passed on to their children, the clearest sign yet that one person’s life experience can affect subsequent generations.

The conclusion from a research team at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital led by Rachel Yehuda stems from the genetic study of 32 Jewish men and women who had either been interned in a Nazi concentration camp, witnessed or experienced torture or who had had to hide during the second world war.

They also analysed the genes of their children, who are known to have increased likelihood of stress disorders, and compared the results with Jewish families who were living outside of Europe during the war. “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents,” said Yehuda.

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2 Comments

Filed under Holocaust in the news

2 responses to “Study of Holocaust survivors finds trauma passed on to children’s genes

  1. Ryan Hepburn

    Fascinating! Similar research happening around 9/11 and those women who were pregnant at the time of the attacks in NYC.

  2. Ian Biddle

    So I gather: interesting field this….

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