New research that has been conducted at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich shows that a traumatic experience that someone may have had in their life can be passed down to their children through their sp*rm. Previous research has shown that children of people who have had a major trauma in their life are more likely to have mental issues and so the researchers dug further to see if they could figure out why this happens.
What they found during their studies is that the RNA that is in the sp*rm is made by DNA via enzymes that will use the DNA to make a copy of it and produce RNA to go with the new DNA. Then there are other enzymes that will mature the RNA. MicroRNAs are a part of this cycle. The researchers studied the microRNA and found that in mice that experienced a traumatic event in their lives was produced in excess as opposed to the mice that had no trauma. There were only certain types of microRNA that were made in excess. Others were lower than normal. They found that these mixed levels of the microRNA messed with the cell production as well. The mice that had gone through a trauma were behaving differently and acting more depressed that normal.
When the mice produced offspring they found that the depression and behavior issues were prevalent in the babies as well. They also found that the insulin and sugar levels were not as well-regulated and their metabolism was slower. While they are still unsure of what exactly causes the microRNA to change levels they believe that it has something to do with the stress hormones that are released during a trauma.