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Genetic Memories: Can the memories of your ancestors be imprinted in your DNA?
Lisa Miles
1249 Posts
Even though I already have a ton of hobbies to fill my time during the COVID 19 lockdown, I’ve recently taken up yet another new pastime and have been researching my family tree. This has thrown up a few spooky coincidences as well as a few surprises along the way…

I’ve always considered myself to be a London girl. I was born in London and moved to North Hertfordshire during my childhood. But London has always been in my blood and it’s the one place in the world where I feel ‘home’. 

Although my childhood was spent mainly around North London, I’ve always had a fondness for Greenwich and for many years now, whenever I’m asked where I would live in London (if I could afford to that is) then I’ve always said Greenwich although I’ve never been entirely sure why.  I love Greenwich Market, the park, the maritime museum and the view of London from the top of hill next to the Royal Observatory. I’ve always had an interest in the Prime Meridian and stargazing too so I guess it's where quite a few of my interests get wrapped up all in one place.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that my great-grandmother was born in Greenwich and that my great-great grandparents owned a shop there in Trafalgar Road! Spooky eh? 

It does make me wonder if there is such a thing as 'Genetic Memory' where memories can be passed down through the generations via our DNA. Could this be the reason for that ‘déjà vu’ feeling we get sometimes when we go somewhere we’ve never actually been before or why we feel a particular affinity to a place or a time period?

Is it scientifically possible that our experiences are, over time, somehow imprinted into our genetic makeup which can then be passed down through subsequent generations? 
20 Replies
lol .....................
When as a young child I ask my mother where I came from, besides the obvious answer, she said that all of my ancesters on one side of the family lived in large houses and used to dump in the corners...well fancy that!
Legh
OMS
694 Posts
I'm pretty sure there is no genetic memory - if there was, we'd have developed a way to pass on knowledge - but evolution shows us that each generation has to learn everything again from the beginning

We arrive, soaking wet, and blinking in the light, some stranger slaps us on the arse, and it goes downhill from there.

When we shuffle off this ball of clay, that's it - end of story

I've got family ancestors buried across the globe from Valparaiso to Gaza city, several in the North Atlantic, and a few scattered across a fair bit of Europe, North Africa and beyond  - usually as a result of a bit of unpleasantness going on at the time.

I feel no affinity with any of the places - not least my hometown

Regards

OMS
Simon Barker
711 Posts
Lisa Miles:
Is it scientifically possible that our experiences are, over time, somehow imprinted into our genetic makeup which can then be passed down through subsequent generations? 

To some extent, yes.  It was long thought impossible, but studies of people and experiments on animals say otherwise. See https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190326-what-is-epigenetics

Lisa Miles
1249 Posts
Thanks Simon Barker‍ that's a really interesting article and worth a read.

OMS‍ I think it 's only a possibility for direct descendents through the maternal and paternal lines and not members of the extended family. So far I have found around 300 people in my family tree but not all of them are directly related through the blood line.

I think genetics is a fascinating subject but I also believe that 'nurture' plays a larger part than 'nature' when it comes to forming someones general personality, behaviour and identity. 
I read somewhere that the sins, and presummably the blessings, of the fathers are passed onto the second and third generation.
Legh
OMS
694 Posts
OK - fair point, Lisa - I was thinking along the lines of the 7 daughters of Eve, so we should have (currently) a 1 in 7 chance of sharing the same genetic memories received over many generations in the DNA.

But that can only happen via a DNA transfer, up to the point of conception - any memories of your great great grandma, after the point of conception of her daughter couldn't feasibly be passed on  - and so on, and on and on to you - so unless she owned that shop before her daughter was born, what memory of it was there to transfer.

Nature and nurture is a whole different argument - studies of separated twins is quite interesting, but on the whole, people are good, bad or indifferent regardless of the influence of either or both.

I think I tend to dispute the "sins of the fathers" business as a principle, but certainly the stigmas may continue for many generations

Regards

OMS
" I think I tend to dispute the "sins of the fathers" business as a principle, but certainly the stigmas may continue for many generations
"
Maybe the stigma is part of the ongoing curse? Who knows.
I thought I'd chase this one up  and discovered that I was wrong. It should have read third and fourth generations not second and third.
This saying has been kicking around for over 4K years, long before humans awareness of DNA, which seems to suggest  awareness of the human condition from elsewhere.
I thought this study gave a reasonable explanation.

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-god-visits-sins-on-the-third-and-fourth-generation

Legh
OMS
694 Posts
Mmmm - that looks like the ramblings of someone who believes in sky pixies, though

What do alternative sky pixies have to say about things ?

Regards
OMS:
Mmmm - that looks like the ramblings of someone who believes in sky pixies, though

What do alternative sky pixies have to say about things ?

Regards

Lol ... sky pixes?  🤣

OMS
694 Posts
Other descriptions for your mythical entity of choice are available, Legh

Regards

OMS
🙄Right....those pixies.....🤣.
Remember that you are denoucing 3 of the 5 major world faiths, although Budism and Hinduism may also make reference to genetics , we won't worry about some of the more obscure beliefs....

IMO the study and manipulation of the human DNA might be regarded as a higher form of mechanics. It is undoubtidly useful when detecting and adjusting mutant genes, but this is, IMO, the technicians view and does not provide the complete solution.

I also think that for many people the saying 'ignorance is bliss' but then that's something else.
Legh
OMS
694 Posts
Only 3 ? - I was actually denouncing the bloody lot of them 😉

Regards

OMS
Lisa Miles
1249 Posts
Spooky coincidence no2... Finally managed to trace my paternal grandmother and discovered that her father was a car mechanic and driver in the Royal Artillery..

Guess who is a car enthusiast, loves driving and sometimes wishes she'd been a Rally driver??? 😉
OMS
694 Posts
Spooky coincidence 3 - so do I Lisa, but I'm pretty sure I'm not descended from your great grandad.My grandad used to run around with a big pointy thing on the end of a bang stick, and the only thing he ever drove was a gantry crane in an iron foundry after losing a leg in a bit of unpleasantness in France. My father disliked driving, and mother never learned to drive.

Note to self: Enquire with Mutti about any, ahem, dalliance, with motoring types

I think it's human nature to try and make connections and find a sense of place when in fact there are no connections or any memory of place that's delivered genetically

Right, time to fire up the Quattro and play a bit of dark German Techno on the Harmon Kardon, whilst throwing a few Hannu Mikkola sliding turns 😉

Yours, ethereally 

OMS

 
Lisa Miles
1249 Posts
OMS:

Right, time to fire up the Quattro and play a bit of dark German Techno on the Harmon Kardon, whilst throwing a few Hannu Mikkola sliding turns 😉
 


😂 Funny you should say that OMS...  I drive a Audi TT Quattro and yes indeed I was playing German Techno in the car on the way to the office this morning...

No sliding turns though... 🤭

It is very difficult to differentiate between pure coincidence and actual influence (which is why these studies have to look at large numbers of cases). We moved to Surrey and our daughter went to a school which on the site had a "Town Hall", a purpose built structure put up in around 1750 to maintain the village's right to have an MP as a rotten borough (actually two MPs but only two voters) which we had to explain to our children. Researching my wife's family history a few years later we found that her G-G-G-G-Grandfather was an MP for a rotten borough in the 1790's, in fact the very rotten borough where our daughter was at school. I am convinced this is coincidence and nothing to do with genetic memory.
JPCoetzee
17 Posts
I dunno, doesn't everyone think that Greenwich is lovely? Now, if you were mysteriously drawn to Dagenham that would be weird :)
🤣 "sliding turns " !
That's drifting! and spending your evenings doing doughnuts complete waste of time, might as well take up miniture golf.
Legh
OMS
694 Posts
Lisa Miles:
OMS:

Right, time to fire up the Quattro and play a bit of dark German Techno on the Harmon Kardon, whilst throwing a few Hannu Mikkola sliding turns 😉
 


😂 Funny you should say that OMS...  I drive a Audi TT Quattro and yes indeed I was playing German Techno in the car on the way to the office this morning...

No sliding turns though... 🤭

Please tell me it's the Old Skool 3.2 V6 😍

OMS

OMS
694 Posts
Legh Richardson:
🤣 "sliding turns " !
That's drifting! and spending your evenings doing doughnuts complete waste of time, might as well take up miniture golf.
Legh

Drifting is for the local rude boys in souped up Corsa's with bald tyres and more bass than power in B&Q's car park - when you are running on Haldex 4WD you need a bit more velocity and space to get into the power slides, but it can be done.

As for golf (of any variety) - well that's just a good walk wasted 

Regards

OMS

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