The science of epigenetics is growing far deeper and ever more complicated. Epigenetics is the science of genetic expressions. That is, how your genes behave. I've previously reported how nutritional deficiencies and environmental chemicals derange gene function even when it doesn't alter the DNA code itself. But that's not all that can affect your genes. A new study has found that stress can induce anxiety in their future offspring.
Specifically, researchers generated stress in young male mice. Then they had these mice produce offspring with non-stressed females. The progeny, particularly the female offspring, exhibited anxious behaviors and poor social interactions through adulthood, even though the fathers were no longer showing signs of the stress. The Tufts University researchers are now looking for the chemicals in the sperm of the previously stressed males that might have affected the epigenetic changes in behavior.
This study came as a huge surprise to me. I'd have expected the same if it were the mother that underwent the stress, even if before conception. But we now see that stress in the father, long before conception, can jump a generation and affect progeny. This amazing research confirms much of what some of my incredible mentors have taught me.
This will be difficult to replicate in humans, though it's certainly possible. Hopefully researchers will be able to locate men who overcome particularly hard lives in their youth and follow their children, both male and female.
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The lesson here is a spiritual one. The stress we inflict on our children will have ramifications for years to come. The stress we inflict on others will have ramifications for years to come. Humans must awaken to the fact that we are a family and children of the Creator. I can only dream of the ramifications of widespread adoption of the golden rule, not only on us today, but on what that does to our genetic expression for future generations.
In the meantime, work hard to handle stress correctly. We can't avoid stress, but we can handle it in a way that doesn't do harm to ourselves or others. One of the most important factors in handling stress is getting a good night's sleep. If you can't sleep well, it will make the stress - and your ability to handle it - much worse. Try using
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