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Genetic memory... the wisdom of all who came before?

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posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:26 AM
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We are slowly gaining a clearer perspective of the true nature of instinct. Elephants can locate watering holes that haven't been visited in generations. Many "prey" organism are born with a built in fear of certain natural predators. I once read an article which claimed flat worms had been classically conditioned to associate exposure to light with electric shock. Eventually, when exposed to a light source, the worms would curl (with or without electric shock). The worms were then cut into halves and allowed to regenerate into two complete organisms. Both continued to react to the light source by curling up. Some suggest that considering the basic lack of a brain in these worms, this "instinct" must be written upon the DNA itself.

I'm far from an expert when it comes to genetics, but there are some concepts here that seem to require little more than common sense. I understand how something so simple as a correlation between exposure to light and electric shock may be little more than instinct. However, in order to recognize a natural predator, wouldn't an organism require a pre-wired image or memory of this threat? Would not a deer need to already have the ability to recognize a wolf as a threat in order to avoid being eaten? For an elephant to be able to locate a watering hole that it's great grandfather once frequented, would it not need to have a map of sorts pre-programmed within it's brain? These are complex instincts that for all purposes meet the requirement for being memories.

Does this then suggest that we all hold the wisdom (or at least all that which is or was at one point vital to survival) of all those who came before us? Could this be the purpose for all of those "useless" or dormant genes in the human genome? Maybe we have the ability to store most if not ALL memories and not just those that have proven to be vital to our ancestors. What would happen to the human race if we technologically (or otherwise) gained the ability to access this wealth of experience and information? I know that the movie Altered States (which I believe was based on a novel by Paddy Chayefsky) touches on this subject as does Frank Herbert in his Dune novels. Maybe these people were on to something.

I'd love to hear what you guys think (mostly about what it would mean for the future of humanity).




posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:35 AM
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Originally posted by veritas93
I'd love to hear what you guys think (mostly about what it would mean for the future of humanity).


Perhaps our species DOESN'T have this genetic memory, and this is why we must write, record, and map everything.

Or perhaps we've LOST these instincts for the very same reason.


Can it be tapped into (if it is there)? I would say yes.
Check out Edgar Cayce and the Akashic Records.

With technology? It'd be pretty weird to be able to decode genetic material into actual usuable information. But possible? What isn't?



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:42 AM
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Many humans do still have instincts. The sound of nails across a chalkboard stimulates a similar response amongst most humans. When we hear it, the hair on the back of our neck stands up and we get a general feeling of discomfort. Some suggest that it may be because that sound is similar to a sound that some primates make to "warn" others of danger. What about past life memories? If you accept some of the past life cases as valid to some degree, then maybe this is another form of genetic memory.

Also, thanks for the suggested reading (I assume that it involves the past life experiences). I'll look into it.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 09:52 AM
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The sound of nails across a chalkboard stimulates a similar response amongst most humans. When we hear it, the hair on the back of our neck stands up


I suppose I must be disabled then. When someone runs nails across a chalkboard, I think "hmm, someone is running nails across a chalkboard". No hair standing up and no other feelings of discomfort.

ps: If we did have a genetic memory, meaning information stored in our brain is fed into the featus (sp?)...that means only the mothers memory ever gets passed on. There's no way the father's memory can be implanted into the embryo during normal pregnancy.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:04 AM
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I do not see it as memory, but instinct. Genetic insticnt. Are these not to differnet things? Many people know instinctively not to do something wrong, others only know from memory. Could it not only be linked to genetics, but also intelligence? How much of the brain is tapped....



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:19 AM
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Originally posted by veritas93
However, in order to recognize a natural predator, wouldn't an organism require a pre-wired image or memory of this threat? Would not a deer need to already have the ability to recognize a wolf as a threat in order to avoid being eaten? For an elephant to be able to locate a watering hole that it's great grandfather once frequented, would it not need to have a map of sorts pre-programmed within it's brain? These are complex instincts that for all purposes meet the requirement for being memories.

I like this theory very much, and like any good theory it needs questions to be asked that could bring up possible holes or alternate explanations.

Could it be that the deer fearing the wolf is picking up on traits in the wolf that are universally known as threatening? Baring teeth, paceing about, menacing stare, a body shape that indicates speed and stregnth. Could the deer be smelling something that we can't that alerts it to a threat? Could the deer have learned anything in-utero while developing that allowed it to sense the presence of the thing it's mother feared?

As for the elephant, perhaps there were similarities in the grandfather's and baby's elephants brains that lead it to make decisions on where to go or turn that lead them to the same place. Maybe they both had a bad knee joint that had them veer left more often and likely to end up in the same spot. Is this a watering hole used by all elephants? Could it be scent of paths elephants travelled over years that lead the elephant back there? Could there be some form of language and communication that the grandparent used to describe some long lost place and lead the young back to that spot?

We need to disprove those things before conclusively accepting genetic memory.

Now I'd like to add my own example of something that could be genetic memory but might not be: snakes. When baby snakes are born, they are abandoned at birth. No teaching by mom, no hanging out with their fellow hatchlings. They are alone. They learn quickly how to hunt, eat, shed, defend, and avoid prey. Pretty impressive. Could this be genetic memory? Perhaps, but it could also be that given their body shape, they have limited options on what they can do to hunt, and they just used the easiest way. The food they eat might just be the best available given their shape and teeth. Kind of hard to eat a spikey branched bush or plant, or eat and uproot a leafy vegetable (Althouth an ex boyfriend thought they ate corn and destroyed crops). They ate what they found on the ground that was convenient. They shed when their skin itched and they rubbed up against something to ease that feeling. Memory or necessity?



Does this then suggest that we all hold the wisdom (or at least all that which is or was at one point vital to survival) of all those who came before us? Could this be the purpose for all of those "useless" or dormant genes in the human genome?

If only we had the benefit of "if I knew now what I knew then" can you imagine how different the world would be? Perhaps history would not repeat itself so often. Some things have been proven to be traits we hold at birth and sometimes before birth in the womb. General tendencies towards shyness, extroversion, being a night-person or morning-person seem to be present from the beginning. Is this a genetic memory or more a function of physical or chemical composition in the brain that causes it?

Memory, nature, nurture... perhaps a combination of all three.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:41 AM
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Humans are so advanced they need little-to-no genetic memory. The great thing about humans is that they are capable of quickly grasping new concepts that enable survival in any environment. The more advanced an animal's brain, the less genetic memory it has.

People do seem to have some genetic instincts, though. Infants will automatically search for a nipple when you hold them to your chest. Their little heads just start bobbing around and mouth puckering. Babies that can crawl, when confronted with a precipice (an illusion, there's plexiglass there) will stop at the precipice.

Another interesting thing about the human brain is the ability to remember smells and tastes. For creatures that foraged this is obviously very important. Smell-memory is the strongest memory, proven repeatedly. Often just a smell can conjure up memories of the last place the scent was smelled.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:47 AM
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It's much like our "sixth sense" abilities. We are born with them, but when we start school, children are told "stop day dreaming", think "logical"....we begin to bury it. It must be consciously kept at the surface through meditation and practice.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:50 AM
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The answer is in our mitochondria, and humans, whether they admit it or not, whether they like it or not, store and have 'genetic' memories, better known as ancestral memory(ies).



seekerof

[edit on 26-10-2004 by Seekerof]



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 11:42 AM
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Admittedly, this is an interesting topic... of course I am somewhat biased

Anyway, for what it's worth here is my 2 cents:



Many "prey" organism are born with a built in fear of certain natural predators.


It's an interesting point. Even if one is to argue that animals that fear predator organisms have gained this instinct through natural selection, ie: the one's that didn't fear it were eaten, it necessarily implies a genetic component.



However, in order to recognize a natural predator, wouldn't an organism require a pre-wired image or memory of this threat? Would not a deer need to already have the ability to recognize a wolf as a threat in order to avoid being eaten?


I suppose there could be some sort of undetectable signal, such as pheremones or other biological signals that are universally recognized amongst mammals, for example.




For an elephant to be able to locate a watering hole that it's great grandfather once frequented, would it not need to have a map of sorts pre-programmed within it's brain?


This concept is intriguing. However, there is really no way to be sure about what was happening in the elephant's brain. Was reaching the watering hole random... ie: resulting from established and variable migration patterns within a particular range? There is really know way to 'establish' this kind of info for certain.




Could this be the purpose for all of those "useless" or dormant genes in the human genome?


Which useless and/or dormant genes are you referring to? The human genome was only recently mapped. All of the genes haven't even been located, much less their function established. Furthermore, understanding the function of a single gene tells you nothing about that genes role in the context of other genes. Contrary to what the media might filter through to you, there is no such thing as useless or 'junk' DNA.




It's much like our "sixth sense" abilities. We are born with them, but when we start school, children are told "stop day dreaming", think "logical"....we begin to bury it. It must be consciously kept at the surface through meditation and practice.


This also presents some interesting points. I don't think any of us would deny that this 'sixth sense' as LadyV describes it exists. But what is the nature of it. It seems to be some sort of instantaneous transfer of information. Is it some sort of biological resonance? I actually read something (can't remember where, sorry) stating that human beings were unique in the biological realm in that their 'frequencies' were capable of interacting with 'all' other biological frequencies examined. For a confirmation of the effects of energy good and bad on the surrounding 'system' please visit www.hado.net. Emoto's work with water crystallization is both intriguing and enlightening.




The answer is in our mitochondria, and humans, whether they admit it or not, whether they like it or not, store and have 'genetic' memories, better known as ancestral memory(ies).

Seekerof, what do you mean by this? What do mitochondria have to do with it? While it is true that mitochondria are passed without genetic recombination, specifically from the maternal lineage, but genetic or ancestral memory is not implicit in this. Furthermore, of the human genes we do know about, the genes contained in the mitochondrial DNA, are for very specific and IDENTIFIED functions within the mitochondria.If you're going to state ancestral or genetic memory unequivocally exists, and it results from the mitochondria, please, don't leave us hanging, let us know how you know this.

[edit on 26-10-2004 by mattison0922]



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 12:36 PM
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Wow, some great points. As for the nails across the chalkboard... yes, many have no response to this sound. I certainly wouldn't say that you're disabled.

I agree that the process for recognizing a natural predator could require little more than recognizing certain characteristics (sharp fangs, musculature, etc.) however one study that I read said that newly hatched chicks respond dramatically to the presence of chicken hawks. No fangs, very little difference in bodily structure... but who knows.

I'm not sure what specifics are involved with the elephants being able to locate old watering holes that they or their family or herd haven't visited in generations, but it seems to me that it would have to be more complicated than simple migratory instinct. I do like the idea that maybe they have a form of language that we've yet to recognize.

I agree with LadyV. I think that through our culture and upbringing we may learn to repress such "memories" and rely upon direct experience. Maybe this is also a down side of having a complex brain that functions on an incredibly high level most of the time. Maybe at some point these "memories" themselves were proven to be detrimental to our survival and were thus locked away.

Thanks for the responses all. You've given me much to think about.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by esdad71
I do not see it as memory, but instinct. Genetic insticnt. Are these not to differnet things? Many people know instinctively not to do something wrong, others only know from memory. Could it not only be linked to genetics, but also intelligence? How much of the brain is tapped....


As far as I know, these are not two different things. Our memories are complex structures usually composed of smells, sights, sounds and physical sensations. For all purposes, I think that instinct is genetic memory.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by RedBalloon

If only we had the benefit of "if I knew now what I knew then" can you imagine how different the world would be? Perhaps history would not repeat itself so often. Some things have been proven to be traits we hold at birth and sometimes before birth in the womb. General tendencies towards shyness, extroversion, being a night-person or morning-person seem to be present from the beginning. Is this a genetic memory or more a function of physical or chemical composition in the brain that causes it?

Memory, nature, nurture... perhaps a combination of all three.


The last study that I read suggested that so far... it's believed that upwards of 40% or more of our behavior is genetically determined. For example, I laugh and smile exactly like my father who I didn't really get to know until later in life.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 12:54 PM
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There are more aproaches then DNA memory.

Rupert Sheldrake



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 12:55 PM
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The last study that I read suggested that so far... it's believed that upwards of 40% or more of our behavior is genetically determined. For example, I laugh and smile exactly like my father who I didn't really get to know until later in life.


This is a myth perpetuated by the biocorporate-industrial complex. Your laugh and your smile are not behaviors. These are physical characteristics or manifestations of physical characteristics that are determined genetically. Your behavior is not determined by your genes, it's determined by you. I'd be interested to read this study. The current emphasis put on genes for the determination of your propensity is dangerous. Contrary to what the biocorporate industrial complex would have you believe you are not a slave to your biochemistry.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 01:13 PM
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Well, the study was in fact presented to us in one of my psychology classes at my university. These studies are up to date and are generally excepted by many psychologists (at least the ones that teach at my university and write our texts). I'm not sure exactly how or why these independent "scientists" would be influence by the biocorporate-industral complex. As for the smile and laugh being a physical characteristic... then how can you explain how people often pick up such behaviors from others whom they are exposed to over long periods of time. A friend of mine began laughing just like his girlfriend after dating for about 4 years. Many others change their posture, their smiles, their laughs, their facial expressions, etc. in general depending on who they are around at any given moment. There is a term for this that I can't remember for the life of me. I want to say social cameleonism but that just doesn't sound right.

Are you suggesting that these are both genetic AND cultural?



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by veritas93
Well, the study was in fact presented to us in one of my psychology classes at my university. These studies are up to date and are generally excepted by many psychologists (at least the ones that teach at my university and write our texts).

Psychologists, in general are not in any position to make judgements regarding the genetic origin of anything, including behavior. They have no training in genetics, and certainly no training in molecular genetics.


I'm not sure exactly how or why these independent "scientists" would be influence by the biocorporate-industral complex.


They are subjected to the current popular opinions perpetuated in areas outside of their expertise, like genetics for example. In this case, that the root cause of behavior is genetic. Rubbish.


As for the smile and laugh being a physical characteristic... then how can you explain how people often pick up such behaviors from others whom they are exposed to over long periods of time. A friend of mine began laughing just like his girlfriend after dating for about 4 years. Many others change their posture, their smiles, their laughs, their facial expressions, etc.

I don't even know how to address this. It seems like you've answered your question: your friend picked up his girlfriends behavior. So what's the issue. Your 'baseline' laugh however is dictated by your physical structure, no two ways about it. Your friends girlfriend will never pick up a deep bass laugh, no matter who she hangs out with... doesn't have the right equipment.



Are you suggesting that these are both genetic AND cultural?


I am stating that your behavior is a combination of genetic, environmental, and cultural influences.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:01 PM
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I was wasn't so much talking about the pitch of the laugh but the manner of the laugh. My father's voice is bass, and mine... not so much. Our tone and pitch is different, yet the laugh itself is almost identical otherwise.

I believe that the study was to some extent performed jointly by psychologists and geneticists, each contibuting their expertise. The results are hwoever statistical and correlational so the implications may be misleading. Part of the study compared the behavior of identical twins raised by biological parents and adopted children raised from birth by non-biological parents. The study showed that in the adopted children, behavior was only about 5% similar to the parents and in the biological children behavior matched to about 40% suggesting that "nurture" played a very small role. The twins however (even when raised seperately) had an even higher percentage of behavioral similarity. I don't think that anyone is arguing the fact that our environment does influence our behavior to some extent. What they're debationg is to what extent.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:40 PM
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Originally posted by veritas93
I was wasn't so much talking about the pitch of the laugh but the manner of the laugh. My father's voice is bass, and mine... not so much. Our tone and pitch is different, yet the laugh itself is almost identical otherwise.


I merely used pitch as an example. I was attempting to make a point about different anatomies resulting in different manifestations of the same behavior between individuals. These anatomical nuances are of course inherited from your parents, which will to some extent dictate the way a laugh or other trait is manifested. However it seems worthless to spend a huge amount time debating the validity of anecdotal evidence that is probably not really relevant in the context of this particular thread. Laughing is probably not a great example of the original 'genetic memory' topic of this thread.


I believe that the study was to some extent performed jointly by psychologists and geneticists, each contibuting their expertise.


The last study that I read


the study was in fact presented to us


Veritas, these are all quotes from you in this thread: Did you read this study, or was it presented to you? I'd really like to see this particular study. What was n? What behaviors were investigated? What were the total number of behaviors classified? How many different behaviors do psychologists think I am capable of engaging in to come up with a 40% figure? What were the particular criteria used to these describe and classify behaviors? How was compliance or non-compliance with a particular behavior decided?



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:44 PM
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The only human 'instinct" that has ever caught my attention is the instinct to run towards fires. People rarely run unless they see that it's hopelss. Otherwise, they stick there and try to subdue it.




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