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Parents can transmit experiences to next generation

health-and-fitness Updated: Jan 29, 2013 17:01 IST

IANS
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Geneticists have figured out how parents transmit their experiences, both good and bad, to the genes of their offspring.

Epigenetics probes how environmental factors play an active role in activating or deactivating genes by means of chemical tags, which tagged to the DNA, tell a cell to use or ignore a particular gene. Scientists from the University of Cambridge have observed that offspring may inherit altered traits owing to their parents' past experiences, the journal Science reports.

For example, events such as famine have resulted in impacting the health of children and grandchildren of individuals who had restricted or starvation diets.

They might grow emaciated bodies or remain underweight all their life, according to a Cambridge statement.

"Our research demonstrates how genes could retain some memory of their past experiences, revealing that one of the big barriers to the theory of epigenetic inheritance -- that epigenetic information is erased between generations -- should be reassessed," said Jamie Hackett from Cambridge, who led the research.

What Hackett implies is that there are no barriers to the transmission of environmental influences on genetic expressions to the next generation.