Might a ‘memory’ of Covid-19 be passed down to future generations?

2020/21 will be years to remember, but could such memory go well beyond archived blog posts, and celluloid story-telling? Could ‘memory’ of the past twelve-months be directly inherited by future generations via DNA?

Prior to the pandemic, an experiment by a team of researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, in the USA, showed that mice trained to avoid a particular smell passed their aversion on to their ‘grandchildren’. In other words, the experience of the mice prior to conceiving was essentially encoded into their DNA and made subsequent generations of mice extremely sensitive to the same smell. Or to put it another way, experience can be inherited.

Professor Marcus Pembury from UCL, in the UK, commented that the US study on mice was “highly relevant to phobias, anxiety, and PTSD disorders” and said that the study provided solid evidence that a type of memory could be passed on to future generations.

One implication here is that the current levels of anxiety related to Covid-19, especially among younger people, could linger far longer than most people might imagine.

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