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08-01-13, 04:15 AM
Maternal care, gene expression, and the transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity across generations

Naturally occurring variations in maternal care alter the expression of genes that regulate behavioral and endocrine responses to stress, as well as hippocampal synaptic development. These effects form the basis for the development of stable, individual differences in stress reactivity and certain forms of cognition. Maternal care also influences the maternal behavior of female offspring, an effect that appears to be related to oxytocin receptor gene expression, and which forms the basis for the intergenerational transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity. Patterns of maternal care that increase stress reactivity in offspring are enhanced by stressors imposed on the mother. These findings provide evidence for the importance of parental care as a mediator of the effects of environmental adversity on neural development.


08-01-13, 11:24 PM
There is a new and rapidly growing science that focuses on how life experiences influence the function of genes.

It's called epigenetics.

As a result of life events, chemicals attach themselves to DNA and direct gene activities.

The licking of a rat pup by the mother in the early hours of life turns on a gene in the brain that helps protect the animal from being overwhelmed by stress even as an adult.

In rats deprived of such grooming, the same gene remains dormant.

Epigenetic effects are most powerful during early development and have now been shown to be transmittable from one generation to the next, without any change in the genes themselves. (*15) (

Environmentally induced epigenetic influences powerfully modulate genetic ones.

-Gabor Mate M.D., In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts, P 204

Notes (*15) M.J. Meany ,"Maternal Care, Gene Expression, and the Transmission of Individual Differences in Stress Reactivity Across Generations," Annual Review of Neuroscience 24 (2001): 1162-92


08-01-13, 11:45 PM
Blame becomes a meaningless concept if one understands how family history stretches back through the generations.

"Recognition of this quickly dispels and disposition to see the parent as villain,"

wrote John Bowlby, the British psychiatrist who showed the decisive importance of attachment in infancy and childhood. (*5)

-Gabor Mate M.D., Scattered, p 106

Notes (*5) Bowlby, Separation, 266