Hereditary Trauma in Mice

What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a book recently?
The fact that anxiety generated by a specific traumatic event can be transmitted to descendants generations later, and even more interestingly, this is true whether the original trauma happened to a male or a female. I learned this from Maud Newton’s book on my night stand* so it’s fresh in my mind, though I’ll probably mangle the facts anyway. It seems that in the study a male mouse was repeatedly shocked whenever he was exposed to a certain fragrance. His sperm carried something that had been altered in his DNA by the trauma and his children and even his grandchildren reacted anxiously to the fragrance though they’d never smelled it before.

Ann Leary Likes Scary Stories
“I’m not choosy, as long as there’s a psychopath,” says the novelist, whose new book is “The Foundling.”

* “Maud Newton’s wonderful new book, Ancestor Trouble”