Parents can transmit stress to children

London: Believe it or not -- our parents could have transmitted to us some of the stress we experience.

"There has been a big discussion about whether the stress effect can be transmitted to the next generation without DNA sequence change," said Shunsuke Ishii of RIKEN Tsukuba Institute, Tokyo, Japan.

"Our finding has now demonstrated that such phenomena really can occur," added Ishii, which means parents can transmit stress to offsprings, reports the journal Cell.

Our genes encode proteins but whether and how those genetic instructions are ultimately read and expressed depends on how those genes are chemically modified and "packaged" into a more complex structure known as chromatin.

Some portions of the genome are more tightly wound into what`s known as heterochromatin, which is maintained from one generation to the next and typically doesn`t contain active genes, Ishii explains, according to a RIKEN statement.

In particular, Ishii suggests that epigenetic causes may play a role in lifestyle diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and in psychological diseases, such as schizophrenia.


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