Licking your babbys now is not just fun but also important for the kid’s personality.
You might have heard from Aatish or me about this awesome talk about epigenetics and connection to the brain. Genes are coded for by the DNA in the form of sequences (using A, C, G, T), but the DNA molecule has other stuff also, some of which controls how the genes get expressed. This is basically the stuff epigenetics is made of. (Ever wondered how different cells in our bodies have the same DNA but function differently – epigenetics is the answer). In this talk we went for, we learnt that the epigenetic signatures, instead of being inherited from each parent cell (just like genes) can also be changed in our life times. In the talk we heard of, people explored the variation of epigenetic markers in genes which are expressed in some parts of our brains controlling stress response, addiction, and some general personality traits. In rats, licking from mothers changed the epigenetic markers in these genes, and made the babbys more confident!
Carl Zimmer has more on this here.