May 18, 2009 Now here's a frightening thought! Brain chemicals such as endorphins, and drugs, such as marijuana and heroin are known to have significant effects on sperm and eggs, altering the patterns of genes that are active in them. In an article published in the latest issue of the journal Bioscience Hypotheses, Dr Alberto Halabe Bucay of Research Center Halabe and Darwich, Mexico, suggested that the hormones and chemicals resulting from happiness, depression and other mental states can affect our eggs and sperm, resulting in lasting changes in our children at the time of their conception. Bucay suggests that a wide range of chemicals that our brain generates when we are in different moods could affect ‘germ cells’ (eggs and sperm), the cells that ultimately produce the next generation. Such natural chemicals could affect the way that specific genes are expressed in the germ cells, and hence how a child develops.
“It is well known, of course, that parental behavior affects children, and that the genes that a child gets from its parents help shape that child’s character.” said Dr. Halabe Bucay. “My paper suggests a way that the parent’s psychology before conception can actually affect the child’s genes.”
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
“This is an intriguing idea” commented Dr. William Bains, editor of Bioscience Hypotheses. “We wanted to publish it to see what other scientists thought, and whether others had data that could support or disprove it. That is what our journal is for, to stimulate debate about new ideas, the more groundbreaking, the better.”
The article, entitled, Endorphins, personality, and inheritance: Establishing the biochemical bases of inheritance is available online.
Ref: Alberto Halabe Bucay. doi:10.1016/j.bihy.2009.03.003