It’s possible my daughter’s condition is unavoidable — that she was born with a fear of death imprinted on her genes. There is plenty of precedent in my family, with an unbroken line of anxiety-ridden women stretching back to my great-great grandmother, who made a harrowing journey from Ireland to the United States. Researchers do believe there’s a genetic component to anxiety, but for a time, I believed my daughter was additionally cursed by epigenetics, or the idea that our experiences can write themselves into our children’s DNA. I’ve since abandoned the idea — the science of epigenetics is still sketchy¹, and I don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to an unproven concept when our problem is more immediate. My daughter’s anxiety is interrupting her daily life and nightly sleep.

Paula M. Fitzgibbons „Watching My Daughter Develop the Same Anxiety I Struggle With

¹ – Adam Rutherford „Beware the pseudo gene genies

Many individual genes are modulated, or tagged, like this too, and many corresponding traits are dependent on this system. We’ve known about this for decades. Rat mothers lick their pups, and those that are licked less have measurably higher stress levels, which correlates with less epigenetic tagging on genes associated with stress. What’s more, it’s reversible. So, the environment influences genetics. (…) These results are complex, perplexing, but possibly slight, and demand greater examination. (…) Epigenetics is fascinating but still in its infancy.

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