social environment activates genes

Research at Stanford University note that the environment, social not chemical, can activate genes. These transform the body sexually changing the entire physiology of the animal.

Perhaps this applies to humans as well. which would alter how we think of the interaction between humans, genetics and evolution.

So - Human behavior may be genetically manipulated by societal environment around Humans??

rather scary and full of possibilities.


"responds both behaviorally and by turning on genes that ultimately make him capable of reproducing"

"This finding offers the first direct evidence that changes in social status also trigger cellular and molecular changes in the brain, he adds, which could have significant implications for understanding how other vertebrates, including humans, respond to social information."

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Haven't gone to the article yet, but yeah I think this is really possible.

Have you ever seen a couple that looks like each other, they spent so much time with each other they changed to compliment their physiology somehow?
What about females... if you put a group together and they are around each other for a long period (no pun intended) of time, their "female cycles" will be synchronized.

Although you can see it as just behavior, it's apparent in gene expression... in other words the groups you hang out with could potentially be waking up certain parts of your genetics and putting away others...  There was one study I read that they did a match like this with 2 different species of bees, and found that both had changed genetically after hanging out with each other throughout their short lifespan.  I'll find it and post it here too..

Makes you wonder if you can actually change your DNA/Genes/Genetic Expression from the inside (without outside influence).. We may be more powerful than we think!

I wonder how much our physical appearance really is affected by this. When you look at a new born baby, they all (racial differences aside) pretty much look the same. A few experiments with biologically identical twins raised in radically different environments should be able to gauge just how much we are altered by our environments in this respect though.

If you follow the implications of what this article indicates, it would be all of it. I would imagine that we start with a basic set of instructions, (arms go there, toes go there), but even that would have been influenced by the environment in those before us.

They only aspect of us that may (may indicating choice) obtain a state of not being influenced, would be our soul. Isn't that what brings us all here in the first place? Trying to gain an understanding of sufficient depth to obtain that state.

My apologies, (I can't help this), but doesn't this fall inline with gaining some aspect of control of our future?

I would imagine that we start with a basic set of instructions, (arms go there, toes go there), but even that would have been influenced by the environment in those before us.

That didn't even cross my mind- that our ancestors themselves would have been subject to this gene changing, and thus our basic inherited genes themselves could be the product of this process. That whole idea seems kind of revolutionary to me.

And you may be onto something with your line of thought on the soul and gaining control. Definitely some interesting ideas all the way around.


I have read through your reply at least 10 times looking for the right words to respond. As far as I am concerned there is no higher compliment than to acknowledge the opening of a potentially  new perception. Thank you, you made my day.

"That whole idea seems kind of revolutionary to me", revolutionary is getting closer. My goal would be evolutionary. 

maybe start a new topic? "Social Influence on Genetics & Evolution" ?  just a thought.

Interesting article. It seems that there are some assumptions being made that have a large influence on how this interaction is occurring. For example: They are assuming that subordinate males merely notice that the dominate male is missing to initiate this change. Have they done any testing to see if the dominate males may be secreting something that inhibit this change in subordinate males?

I certainly wouldn't have any answers. It just seems that what is being suggested may be a bit premature given the information provided.

That being said, the study does support an interaction between individuals and their environment (social or otherwise) that I have felt existed. If our perception of our environment affects what influences our environment has on us, and we can choose (even if only a small degree) how we perceive our environment, then we really do have the power to shape our future.

What responsibilities would this power require to be properly handled?

they had two tanks with glass partition, two separate water filtration systems. The dominant male was with the females. The non-dominant males were in the other tank. in the middle of the night they would sneak out the dominant male. The males in the separate tank reacted the next day. Only One male becomes dominant. The details were in a Science magazine article a ways back.

I think I'm wrong on the current study I posted. There - they sneaked the male out of the tank just before the lights came back on. The room was totally black. They used night vision goggles in an infrared light to remove it. the fish do not react when they remove the male. (they can't see infrared apparently). The change is almost immediate and within minutes of the male's detected (visual) absence.

I'll try to find the follow-on study I referred to in the above. I don't think I dreamed that one up... hmmm

Either way, it is an interesting article. Thank you for providing it for us.

Hi guys, I found that article about the bees... interestingly enough it does mention this run too... so it looks like it's a great companion article to go along with Johns first one... it's a bit longer of course (a good morning read or late evening) but the finds are pretty awesome how environment and societal changes well... make changes lol

PS: Science of Society - The Social Life of Genes

Great! love the article! (scary thoughts come to mind though. I added another post in this thread)


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