New Research Suggests Child Abuse Leaves Imprint On Victims’ DNA


A fascinating if formidable prospect; nevertheless, it is progress, and may clarify much that now confounds us.

Researching Reform

A new study from Harvard University and the University of British Columbia suggests that people who experience abuse as children may carry imprints of that trauma inside their cells, leaving ‘molecular scars’ on its victims.

The study, which is entitled “Exposure to childhood abuse is associated with human sperm DNA methylation”, was published today in Translational Psychiatry. The research team assessed the DNA of 34 men, and found significant differences in methylation between victims and non victims.

Methylation is a biochemical process which acts in part like a dimmer switch on genes, affecting the extent to which a particular gene is activated or not. Epigenetics, or the turning on and off of genes, is a growing area of interest for scientists, who believe the process is influenced by external forces, such as a person’s environment or their life experiences.

The researchers decided to look for methylation in sperm cells…

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