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Dr. Rechavi’s lab studies C elegans nematodes to explore the heritability of memories– how reactions to encounter could be passed down through multiple generations.

In this podcast, you’ll hear him explain:

  • New revelations about heritable capabilities for response behaviors.
  • Why researchers believe a small RNA molecule is the foundation for this heritable behavior and how they’ve tested heritability of responses to starvation, temperature stress, bacteria pathogenic stress, and more.
  • Where this small RNA message must travels to make it into the gametes’ coding and how they’ve traced the inheritance of such traits for three to five generations.

University of Tel Aviv professor Oded Rechavi details his research with C elegans worms to discover more regarding epigenetic inheritance in humans. He clarifies that generally we think of memories as encodings that stay in our brain rather than being passed along.

It had been thought that parental responses to some environmental stresses such as starvation wouldn’t mark their offspring’s reaction. But studies show this notion was incorrect and these responses do travel and make their mark in the germline, being passed down for at least three more generations.

He discusses why they believe small RNAs are responsible for this heritable process. He also explains generally the different types of small RNAs and how this involves a particular type with this specialized behavior.

What they don’t understand but are attempting to further research is the process by which the environment changes the small RNAs. These studies may change the way we understand epigenetic inheritance in humans.

For more, including links to papers they’ve written, see his lab’s web site at http://www.odedrechavilab.com/#about .

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