Epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms that switch inherited genes on and off. The theory is that our own personal life experiences, or for that matter, those of our parents and our parent’s parents, are passed onto subsequent generations. Studies done on survivors from traumatic events, particularly events as catastrophic as ones such as the Holocaust have shown that exposure to stress have a follow-on effect on subsequent generations1. That is, the memory of these events is lived on through our progeny. Their DNA is impacted by the trauma as much as if they’d experienced it themselves.
But the question that has confounded scientists is how are these genetic “memories” passed on?