First go read this. Epigenetics focuses on the idea of meaningful genetic change being passed down the generations by means other than DNA. Lamarckism is the supposedly discredited thinking that change to an organism in a single lifetime can also be inherited.

The article suggests that life has developed methods to transfer by reproduction not only genetic information, but even the experiences of the parents, a form of actual knowledge.

The significance of this is difficult to downplay, and the ramifications are going to keep people occupied for a long time. This is something traditionally fantastical, hard sci-fi at best. Before I come back to what this could really mean, a quick detour through gaming.

As mentioned in the comments to the last post, the early sci-fi RPG Traveller is getting a lot of love lately, possibly because Starter Traveller is free to download until the end of the month. If you're wavering, classic Traveller had a major influence on later games, and quite possibly 40K too, plus it's a fine system, and fairly rigorous too. There's more on the many versions here. One of the things the game is well-known for is its character generation, which can generate long lives and even a character die before play proper begins. But one thing that system doesn't cover is an epigenetic or Lamarckian heritage.

Imagine a character generation mini-game to find the relevant aspects of the character's parents, or ancestors further back. It could get to be almost Microscopic. This thinking also suggests an expansion of the minus level approach, not simply that when your character is killed, the next character you play is someone in the vicinity, but that the game is played over multiple generations at once, with parents, siblings, cousins and so on being essentially insparable, part of a broad and deep 'epi-character'. Now that's epic.

Back to the science then. If the results hold up - not all do of course - the epi-character idea seems to translate well to our own world. Again, not so very long ago the idea that specific life experience could be transferred at reproduction down the generations was largely beyond the pale. What could future research reveal..? How complex might the model of life on earth get? Could it be that all earthly life really is one vast symbiotic organism, and not only resisting entropy in ways we don't yet suspect, but maybe in some form actually planning after all? We hear misleading talk of selecting for, as if life thinks ahead, but this understanding could now be a step closer. Is this a perigenetics?

And if living matter really has arrived or been ejected on troids, as per panspermia, could we be part even of a single interstellar organism, the stake in a gamble that we one day make it back out and deliver the experience of billions of years to a galactic melting pot?

That's a myth for our time, for a species ready to replace itself with artificial forms, and on the verge of interstellar travel - read this gameblog post and Centauri Dreams. It's Baruch Spinoza meets Olaf Stapledon, with a dash of Orion's Arm or even Omega Point.
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