Archives for : histones

Epigenetic transmission of trauma: gene or meme?

mice-800875_1920There’s lots of talk these days about the transgenerational transmission of trauma (TTT).  Some of it focuses on epigenetic changes in the chemical environment of the genes that make people more or less susceptible to trauma.  I find this topic incredibly complicated and difficult to understand.  I’ll try to explain it the best I can, but the reader should be clear that as far as PTSD is concerned, the epigenetic transmission of trauma is still up in the air, a hypothesis with no established empirical (scientific) basis.  As two of the leading researchers put it in the Journal of Traumatic Stress,

There have been no empirical demonstrations of epigenetic modifications per se in association with PTSD or PTSD risk. (Yehuda and Bierer, p. 430)

This reality has done little to dampen speculation, including that of Yehuda and Bierer, as we shall see.  I’m not sure if this is bad or good.  Mostly I think it’s irrelevant.

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