Our experiences may impact the genes that influence our behaviour and health, new research has shown.
Experiences leave an impact on our lives is what all of us have learnt from our experience. But a new research has found that they cast an impact on the genes which influence our behaviour and health.
New perceptions about how experiences might produce long-term brain changes in behaviours like drug addiction and memory formation have been provided by this analysis.
The research focused on an area of research called epigenetics, in which the environment and experiences can turn genes "on" or "off," while keeping underlying DNA intact. Normal brain functions such as memory development are affected by these changes. Even abnormal brain processes like depression, drug dependence and other psychiatric diseases are dissembled and can pass down to future generations.
One study under the research observed how long-term heroin abusers show differences in small chemical modifications of their DNA and the histone proteins attached to it, as compared to non-abusers.
Male rats exposed to cocaine have been showed by another study to pass epigenetic changes on to their male progeny, modifying the next generation’s response to the drug.
A third study found that drug addiction can remodel mouse DNA and chromosomal material in predictable ways, leaving "signatures," or signs of the remodelling, over time. A better understanding of these signatures could be used to diagnose drug addiction in humans.
The studies, presented at Neuroscience 2013 in US, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
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