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ACR-177 Intergenerational trauma: epigenetics.(2017-2018)

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ACR177:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 26, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 177


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer

February 16, 2018


Relative to intergenerational trauma.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACR 177, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. Intergenerational trauma: epigenetics.
This measure would encourage awareness that intergenerational trauma, which has been identified through epigenetic study, may have impact on outcomes of certain citizens of California.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, Researchers have identified that our genes carry memories of trauma evidence of extreme trauma experienced by our ancestors, which is known as epigenetics; ancestors; and
WHEREAS, New scientific research suggests that the negative effects of trauma can be inherited and parents may actually transfer the consequences of experiencing intense psychological trauma to their children via an epigenetic process; and
WHEREAS, Our genes are covered with a layer that holds the memory of trauma experienced by our ancestors and can influence how we react to trauma and stress; and
WHEREAS, The impact of traumatic experiences may be epigenetically inherited via molecular memory that is passed down through generations; and
WHEREAS, This emerging scientific field of epigenetics is discovering that trauma is being passed down to future generations through more than simply learned behaviors; and
WHEREAS, A study examining the DNA of Holocaust survivors and their children found similar variations from the norm in both generations for the gene associated with depression and anxiety disorders. The findings imply children of individuals who experience profound stress in life may be more likely to develop stress or anxiety disorders themselves; and
WHEREAS, The pattern, known as epigenetic change because it affects the chemical marker for the gene rather than the gene itself, suggests that profound stress in the older generation translated into an adaptation that passed on to the next generation; and
WHEREAS, Scientists have long known that parents pass genetic traits down to their children, but recent research suggests that life experiences can also produce chemical effects in DNA; and
WHEREAS, Similar research has been done into the effects of famine on later generations, as well as stress levels in the children of women who survived the September 11, 2001, attacks; and
WHEREAS, Native Americans, whose ancestors are survivors of a holocaust and were shipped off to boarding schools, where they were raised in a harsh environment with no compassion, no empathy, and no love, or African Americans, whose ancestors survived the brutality of slavery, or Chinese people whose grandparents lived through the ravages of the Cultural Revolution, all carry with them more than just memories. Their DNA holds the traumatic history of their ancestors; and
WHEREAS, The new insights of behavioral epigenetics, traumatic experiences in our past, or in our recent ancestors’ past, leave molecular scars adhering to our DNA; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature encourages awareness that intergenerational trauma, which has been identified through epigenetic study, may have an impact on the outcomes of certain citizens of California; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.