A mother's childhood experiences influencing her child's memory?
Wild stuff. Sure, we're talking about rats, but still, pretty remarkable study reported on my fave ScienceDaily.com:
"The researchers studied the brain function of pre-adolescent mice with a genetically-created defect in memory. When these young mice were enriched by exposure to a stimulating environment – including novel objects, opportunities for social interaction and voluntary exercise – for two weeks, the memory defect was reversed. The work showed that this enhancement was remarkably long-lasting because it was passed on to the offspring even though the offspring had the same genetic mutation and were never exposed to an enriched environment."
Get ready, folks, for more studies like this - epigenetic studies. Go to Wikipedia for more on this fascinating new spin on our old notions of genetics, DNA, nurture and nature.
"In biology, the term epigenetics refers to heritable changes in phenotype (appearance) or gene expression caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence... These changes... may last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism; instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently. ".
Now we parents got to really put on our thinking caps for this new science...and wait to see if our mother's have screwed up our children because of what they did or didn't do to us back when we were kids...