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Phobias may be passed down through DNA


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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10486479/Phobias-may-be-memories-passed-down-in-genes-from-ancestors.html

 

Makes sense of why a lot of people seem to be born with phobias. Very common ones such as insects are shared by a great many of the population. It also goes hand in hand with imperfections being passed on generation to generation.

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3 hours ago, EccentricM said:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10486479/Phobias-may-be-memories-passed-down-in-genes-from-ancestors.html

 

Makes sense of why a lot of people seem to be born with phobias. Very common ones such as insects are shared by a great many of the population. It also goes hand in hand with imperfections being passed on generation to generation.

I don't have phobias apart from..public speaking, driving a car, eating meals, breathing air, seeing in color, waking up in the morning, meeting people, touching credit card, flying, going out to movies, brushing teeth, walking in case I squash an insect ..pressing emoticons on keyboard ... etc ..etc .. otherwise I lead normal life LOL :lol1:

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I find that idea difficult to accept, although there are several recent studies that seem to point in that direction.

 

I was always taught that acquired characteristics are not inherited. Lamarckism taught that giraffes stretching their neck to reach the higher leaves give birth to giraffes with longer necks, but that was completely refuted long ago. Similarly, the notion that by training hard in the gym I will have children with stronger muscles, or that if you cut out the tail of mice they will end up breeding tailless mice, doesn't make any sense. Of course if your DNA is altered by radiation or some other factor you will pass that to your descendants, but that's not exactly a characteristic, rather a genetical defect. In fact, this non-inheritability of acquired traits is what makes macroevolution impossible.

 

Yet there are some recent studies in Epigenetics --the genetic material that was called "junk DNA" until recently-- which might hint that some traumas can be transmitted to the next generation. Epigenetics is a very young science and currently we have no idea how it works. I guess we are in for some fascinating discoveries in this field soon.


Edited by carlos
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Hmm. I have a serious phobia for heights. Not sure my parents have that

 

 

Well, that is quite natural, could be self learned or, if through genetics, it's not just parents, but it could be from great ,great, great grand parents and so on. Anxiety runs through my family on both sides, so I get a double dose, similar phobias too, though I was not raised by family members who have them. 

 

For me I have suffered with blood phobia to the point of passing out just when someone talks about it in a detailed manner. I recently had such an experience, and have took steps to therapise myself to deal with it, since it left me in fear of randomly passing out from having random thought about it, even the colour red began to disturb me because I began to associate.  ( That mixing obsessive thoughts, anxiety and phobias  together for you lol). 

 

One of the things that made me look this up. Since blood phobia runs in my family and not through learned behaviour. My father has been like it, I was not raised by him, my aunt is like it, my sister, but both have never displayed it to me in my life before I had it myself. Mind you I did have traumatic childhood experiences with blood though, I had two major head injuries roughly about 6 years of age which I panicked at, as well as my mother. My school life had a few fainting episodes dotted about. (You know kids and playground injuries).

 

Evolutionists would say that it was a self defence mechanism we evolved from the "stone age cave men" who would have to play dead when injured. However it's due to loss of good pressure, just like anxiety is adrenaline to protect us from danger, passing out is an excessive loss in blood pressure, over the top to where it becomes counter productive and is motivated by a fear of blood. The brain is tricked into thinking the injury is more severe than it is and in response, more pressure is dropped to put a stop to the bleeding. This fear though becomes illogical as the mere sight of blood, whether it is your own or not, or just talk can trigger it. But exposure and response therapy has proven to cure it along with CBT. 

 

Perhaps over time war has ingrained this fear from ancient times. Very bad experiences with blood being left in DNA memory leaving people where these emotional experiences are stronger more prone to developing it themselves. Perhaps not directly, but via a bad experience possibly. 


Edited by EccentricM
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The scientific aspect of it is all Greek to me. :D But I will say multiple people in my family, including myself, get vertigo, which has contributed to a fear of heights. Just thinking about falling makes me dizzy. I wasn't born with the phobia, but is associated with a scary experience. Maybe the phobia works simply as a grim reminder of something traumatic, and brings us to that very moment at the sight.

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