24 February 2010

Some mothers can educate their offspring in the egg stage

Insect and plant mothers, to be specific, but one wonders if this is possible in other species, including mammals:
Compared to youngsters born to naive mothers, those born to females with experiences of spiders were 27% more likely to freeze when surrounded by their silk or droppings... This small difference in behaviour often meant the difference between life and death. Storm and Lima placed the young crickets in naturalistic environments, complete with hiding places. When spiders were introduced, the forewarned youngsters spent about twice as long in their refuges and they survived for much longer...

For now, we don't know how the mother crickets manage to tip off their young. Their behaviour could be changed through "epigenetic" means, by adding molecular tags onto their DNA that change the way specific genes are used and controlled. A mother could also convey information to her unborn young with hormones. By placing the right balance of hormones into her eggs, she could influence the development of her offspring's defensive behaviour...
More at Not Exactly Rocket Science.


  1. I believe it is /RNA/-transmission; the parent animals' experiences being encoded without volition at conception.

  2. Oh I think it is far more than that Timeshadows. My Father was a mechanical engineer and owned a garage. He said that I was born with a steering wheel in my hand!!!
    Le Loup. :)

  3. "... I was born with a steering wheel in my hand!!!"

    By cesarian, we hope



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