FRACTAL GIRAFFE: Reminded me of Lamarck’s much reviled theory of soft inheritance, or the ability to inherit characteristics acquired in one’s lifetime. The classic example was that of a giraffe stretching it’s neck to reach the top of an acacia tree, so that with every generation, the neck grew a little longer. Like our fractal giraffe 🙂
• Although Lamarck’s idea was discarded in favor of Mendelian genetics (“natural selection”), inheritance of acquired traits is now supported by the branch of epigenetics. DNA can be chemically modified (“methylation”) to alter the expression of genes, and not only is this process influenced by our environment, we can even pass it on to our offspring.
• The famous example is of human populations who experience starvation and pass altered gene function to their children. An isolated community in northern Sweden went through several famine and feast cycles in the past century. Combing through detailed records, it was found that kids who went from normal eating to gluttony in a single season produced sons and grandsons who lived an average of at least six years less. So the choices you make in your lifetime will leave a genetic imprint!
Inspired by this cartoon from Sakis Koukouvis (http://goo.gl/emm31) and link from Vladimir Mitrovic . Thanks, both!