Children can inherit their parents’ trauma… through Dad’s sperm.

Nature reveals how parents who live through something horrible can have children who inherit depression and anxiety – biologically, through their RNA – from traumas they never personally experienced:

A study published this week in Nature Neuroscience finds that stress in early life alters the production of small RNAs, called microRNAs, in the sperm of mice (K. Gapp et al. Nature Neurosci.; 2014). The mice show depressive behaviours that persist in more info

their progeny, which also show glitches in metabolism.

The study is notable for showing that sperm responds to the environment, says Stephen Krawetz, a geneticist at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, who studies microRNAs in human sperm. (He was not involved in the latest study.) “Dad is having a much larger role in the whole process, rather than just delivering his genome and being done with it,” he says.