Monday, 3 March 2014

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains - Scientific American

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains - Scientific American
Women may have microchimeric cells both from their mother as well as from their own pregnancies, and there is even evidence for competition between cells from grandmother and infant within the mother.
It's more complicated than most people think. Our bodies are not static, they are performance art. We are not defined completely by our DNA.


Chris Phoenix said...

There are multiple examples of infections causing pathogen-beneficial behavior change - like those ants that, when infected, climb to the top of grass stems to be eaten by cows to complete the pathogen's life cycle.

If these fetal cells can "do stuff" in the brain - apparently, compete with other fetal cells - then perhaps they can do other "stuff" to change the mother's psychology to be more nurturing to the offspring.

In fact, given that fetal cells persist in the brain, it would be a bit surprising if they _didn't_ evolve such a capability.

The mother's genetic success is often aligned with the offspring's genetic success - but not always, especially when she has to choose how much support to give to various blood relations.

I wonder whether a competent evolutionary psychologist might be able to come up with some testable predictions for behavior changes, which might give us pointers to where to search for mechanisms of influence that the fetal cells might be using.

Anonymous said...

A neuroscientist declares that there is no scientific basis for myths such as women's alleged inability to read maps and men's alleged inability to care.

A neuroscientist has stepped forward to remind everyone that men and women have the same brains. They just use them differently on occasion.
If society expects men to be witless dolts, always ready with a crude joke and ten beers in their stomachs, that's only because they're reacting to society's expectations. In realizing these expectations, they simply exercise the part of their brains that will achieve what is required.
At heart, the human brain is responsible for so much that's wrong with the world. We have to remind it that it works for us. It has to go along with what we want to be, not what society tells it we want to be.