Could Behaviour Be Genetic?

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So your grandfather had arachnophobia… Years later you realise you have a fear of eency weency spiders. Is there a link? Well, according to a new mice study, there may be. After examining the epigenetic transmission of experience in male mice to subsequent generations, researchers found that experiences of previous generations may pass on to the next generation. Authors of the study note that these may not hold true for humans. The original male mice were conditioned to fear the scent of acetophenone, a scent that activates specific odour receptor in the brain. After breeding the mice, the offspring showed a greater fear response to acetophenone but not to other odours. The fear response was thus associated with structural changes in areas of the brain used to detect the feared odor, and there were also epigenetic changes in the sperm on the gene responsible for detecting the odour. Here are the 13 Things A Man Shouldn’t Fear.

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