DNA and Memory
Country: United States
Date: November 2005
Dr. Darold Treffert, a Wisconsin psychiatrist, has been studying Savant
Syndrome for nearly 40 years. In his observations, there appears to be
traits and abilities that can only be explained by the term genetic
memory or ancestoral memory.
This is likened to philosopher Plato's theory
an innate memory - we are born with memories inherited from our parents
andnother relatives. Has the Human Genome Project discovered or mapped a
section of the DNA strand that may contain information such as
Please notice that Treffert and others are describing behaviors and
abilities that require a certain kind of innate (as opposed to learned)
knowledge. They call this innate knowledge "genetic memory." It's very
interesting research. They do NOT claim that specific memories (i.e.
recalled perceptions of specific events) are inherited. This is an
important distinction. There is no known mechanism for inheriting
memories in this more literal sense and there is no evidence that
literal memories are inherited. Instead, please understand that Dr.
Treffert and his colleagues use the term "genetic memory" in a more
metaphorical sense, to refer to a set of subconscious abilities and
Human behavior and human consciousness are extraordinarily complex
phenomena that can't be fully explained on the basis of simple genetics.
While we are learning a lot very quickly about how complex phenomena
emerge from the simple genetic code, we are still very very far from a
full understanding of how individual genes and other DNA sequences may
influence human behavior. There is no known repository of inherited
knowledge in the genome. If the "genetic memory" traits described by
Treffert et al. do have identifiable genetic components, then they are
undoubtedly scattered about among a great number of genes, and those
traits are likely to emerge more from patterns of gene interaction than
from single genes.
Perhaps it makes more sense to think of the entire genome as a
repository of inherited information.
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Update: June 2012