Trauma can be passed on in molecules of DNA

Research has shown that a traumatic experience can cause changes in a person’s mental health, and can also change their DNA. This means trauma may get passed to future generations.

At the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), researchers have discovered that the short RNA molecules that perform a wide range of vital roles in the body were altered in mice when exposed to trauma.

“We were able to demonstrate for the first time that traumatic experiences affect metabolism in the long-term and that these changes are hereditary,” said Professor Isabelle Mansuy, as quoted by the Daily Mail.  “With the imbalance in microRNAs in sperm, we have discovered a key factor through which trauma can be passed on.”

How the trauma of life is passed down in SPERM, affecting the mental health of future generations, from Daily Mail.

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.

Posted in: Scientific research

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Sadly this is absolutely true. Also, trauma can cause hereditary health problems, such as auto-immune disorders. Thanks for the article Tracy, it is a good reminder that those who have difficulty recovering aren’t necessarily to blame. It isn’t as easy as “forget about it and move on.” Sometimes physical responses to trauma are beyond the victim’s control.


This sounds astonishingly Lamarckian…


Wow! This is so interesting and got my head going. I understand trauma, as experienced by us non-disordered folks, could produce these changes. Lloyd Demausse (spelling) talks about this is terms of child rearing practices, and how they have effected us as a species.

Then I thought of how much trauma (even if unacknowledged, denied, and muscled through) people who are psychopathic experience. Or their BODIES experience. Because it is feasible to at least entertain the idea that they can deny that all the chaos and mayhem they create in their lives has any effect on them, while their bodies still register the high levels of hormones created by their risk taking. I wonder what this does to their offspring?


John Bradshaw wrote a book titled “Family Secrets” a few years back that addressed how family traumas that happened generations ago can affect our lives today. I’ll have to go back and re-read the book with this in mind.


I do not find thid surprising at all. There have been studies of genetic memory in many areas, not just trauma. So while trauma in the DNA sounds band, think of the love, kindness, compassion, etc that is also in our DNA. Genetic memories are a part of evolution. I had a cousin who was an avid genealogist, he could find family history from his genetic memories.

Tramatic genetic meomories can be unfortunate, but they can also save your life. Fight, flight or freeze instincts are a result of genetic memory. Infants are born with a fear of falling, that is one that has been proven. And there then there is the 100th monkkey theory.

It is all facinating until I get to the part where I think my daughter inherited the psychopath gene.


Very interesting. Our lives are written into our DNA in genetic code. I know this is true, and just amazing.

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