Experiments in mice suggest that patterns of chemical "caps" on our DNA may be responsible for preserving such memories.
Courtney Miller and David Sweatt of the University of Alabama in Birmingham say that long-term memories may be preserved by a process called DNA methylation - the addition of chemical caps called methyl groups onto our DNA.
heres the articlehttp://crystalinks.com/dnaencodedmemories.html
We think we're seeing short-term memories forming in the hippocampus and slowly turning into long-term memories in the cortex," says Miller, who presented the results last week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC.
"The cool idea here is that the brain could be borrowing a form of cellular memory from developmental biology to use for what we think of as memory," says Marcelo Wood, who researches long-term memory at the University of California, Irvine.
Its an interesting theory
Phylogenetic memory, not conscious memory. Genetic code is fixed; consciousness is subject to conditioning.
I'm not so sure Genetic code is fixed
where is your proof of that
since Genes can mutate...Cancer is one example
For example, if a calico cat is cloned, the clone will not look physically identical, despite the fact that their genetic code is the same. This is because the expression of genes is influenced by epigenetics.
The British scientist Richard Dawkins coined the word "meme" in The Selfish Gene (1976
s a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, beliefs (notably religious beliefs), clothing fashion, and the technology of building arches.
Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection (in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution) through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an individual meme's reproductive success. Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Theorists point out that memes which replicate the most effectively spread best, and some memes may replicate effectively even when they prove detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.
A field of study called memetics arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model.
Historically, the notion of a unit of social evolution, and a similar term (from Greek mneme, “memory”), first appeared in 1904 in a work by the German Lamarckist biologist Richard Semon titled Die Mnemischen Empfindungen in ihren Beziehungen zu den Originalempfindungen (loosely translatable as “Memory-feelings in relation to original feelings”). According to the OED, the word mneme appears in English in 1921 in L. Simon's translation of Semon's book: The Mneme.
Laurent noted the use of the term mneme in Maurice Maeterlinck's The Life of the White Ant (1926), and has highlighted similarities to Dawkins' concept.
Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolutionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme
We haven't figured out everything about DNA yet
there is also the God geneAccording to this hypothesis, the God gene (VMAT2) is a physiological arrangement that produces the sensations associated, by some, with mystic experiences, including the presence of God or others, or more specifically spirituality as a state of mind (i.e. it does not encode or cause belief in God itself in spite of the "God gene" moniker).
Based on research by psychologist Robert Cloninger, this tendency toward spirituality is quantified by the self-transcendence scale, which is composed of three sub-sets: "self-forgetfulness" (as in the tendency to become totally absorbed in some activity, such as reading); "transpersonal identification" (a feeling of connectedness to a larger universe); and "mysticism" (an openness to believe things not literally provable, such as ESP). Cloninger suggests that taken together, these measurements are a reasonable way to quantify (make measurable) how spiritual someone is feeling.
The self-transcendence measure was shown to be heritable by classical twin studies conducted by Lindon Eaves and Nicholas Martin. Interestingly, these studies show that specific religious beliefs (such as belief in Jesus) have no genetic basis and are instead based on purely cultural or informative transmission.
In order to identify some of the specific genes involved in self-transcendence, Hamer analyzed DNA and personality score data from over 1000 individuals and identified one particular locus, VMAT2, with a significant correlation. VMAT2 codes for a vesicular monoamine transporter that plays a key role in regulating the levels of the brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These monoamine transmitters are in turn postulated to play an important role in regulating the brain activities associated with mystic beliefs.
What evolutionary advantage this may convey, or what advantageous effect it is a side effect of, are questions that are yet to be fully explored. However, Dr. Hamer has hypothesized that self-transcendence makes people more optimistic, which makes them healthier and likely to have more children.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene