Stickleback fish can learn about predators by observing their peers. They may then be able to pass that information onto their offspring – without ever interacting with them

Life



23 July 2022

Male three-spined sticklebacks

Male three-spined sticklebacks may pass on information about predators to their offspring

Brian Stauffer

In all organisms, life experience and environment – such as diet and exposure to pollution – can change the way genes are expressed. There is evidence that these epigenetic changes can be inherited by offspring.

Jennifer Hellmann at the University of Dayton in Ohio and her colleagues wanted to see if socially acquired information – learning that happens by way of observing someone else – could also be passed onto the next generation in a similar way.

For their experiment, the researchers chose …



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