According to an article published today in The Guardian reporting on a scientific paper authored by a research team at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital led by Dr. Rachel Yehuda and published in Biological Psychiatry, genetic changes resulting from trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors are capable of being passed on to their children.
Yehuda and her team specifically targeted one region of a gene associated with stress hormone regulation. According to The Guardian, the Mount Sinai team’s work ‘is the clearest example in humans of the transmission of trauma to a child via what is called “epigenetic inheritance” – the idea that environmental influences such as smoking, diet and stress can affect the genes of your children and possibly even grandchildren’.
These findings are clearly important in helping us understand trauma and reminds us of the importance of avoiding it in the first instance, but also of early intervention and comprehensive treatment.
You can read The Guardian article here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/21/study-of-holocaust-survivors-finds-trauma-passed-on-to-childrens-genes