Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Experimental evidence needed to demonstrate inter- and trans-generational effects of ancestral experiences in mammals.

Abstract Source:

Bioessays. 2014 Oct ;36(10):919-23. Epub 2014 Aug 25. PMID: 25154497

Abstract Author(s):

Brian G Dias, Kerry J Ressler

Article Affiliation:

Brian G Dias


Environmental factors routinely influence an organism's biology. The inheritance or transmission of such influences to descendant generations would be an efficient mode of information transfer across generations. The developmental stage at which a specific environment is encountered by the ancestral generation, and the number of generations over which information about that environment is registered, determines an inter- vs. trans-generational effect of ancestral influence. This commentary will outline the distinction between these influences. While seductive in principle, inter- and trans-generational inheritance in mammals is a hotly debated area of research inquiry. We present constructive criticism of such inheritance, and suggest potential experimental avenues for reconciliation. Finally, epigenetic mechanisms present an avenue for gene regulation that is dynamic. We briefly discuss how such malleability affords the potential for a reversal of any detrimental environmental influences that might have adversely impacted ancestral or descendant generations.

Study Type : Review

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