Class of 2024Collierville, Memphis
- "Epigenetics as a Determining Factor for Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma" with mentor Garrett (Oct. 2, 2023)
Epigenetics as a Determining Factor for Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma
Started Mar. 22, 2023
Abstract or project description
Transgenerational transmission of trauma is a fascinating concept that involves the transmission of trauma through subsequent generations. Although initially discovered in 1966 by Canadian psychiatrist Vivian M. Rakoff, MD when he noticed the high rates of psychological distress in the children of holocaust survivors, there have been numerous articles and studies to explain this phenomenon. There have also been numerous attempts to reach a decisive conclusion and explain how such a phenomenon is possible. The same signs of distress were noticeable in the children of victims of the Dutch Famine, the collapse of the twin trade towers and other traumatic incidents. These studies all suggest that the offspring of the people that experienced such trauma were more likely to develop mental health disorders. More specifically, epigenetics is the field that allows us to further understand transmission of trauma. Epigenetics is the field that deals with modification of genomes. These modifications may be through DNA methylation or Histone Modification. DNA methylation involves the addition of a methyl base. This methylation usually occurs on CpG dinucleotides. Histone modification can be through the epigenetic modification on H3 and H4. This coating becomes a sort of memory on the cell. Ultimately all the cells carry this memory. This explains how trauma can be passed down from one generation to another without the next generation having to experience traumatic events.