The Wall Street Journal (2/28, D3, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that increasingly, research is showing that life experiences can influence the genes of offspring, as passed on through epigenetic inheritance, which alters the activity of genes. Researchers have found that stress is linked to epigenetic changes that can predispose animals to cocaine addiction. Other investigators studied why babies born to mothers who have experienced trauma are more susceptible to obesity and heart disease, and have suggested that trauma can lead to epigenetic changes that change fetal metabolism. Researchers also suggest that epigenetic patterns may help in diagnosing psychiatric disorders.
The article, which I commented on at their site, will be available for approximately one week from the link above. Hopefully, the informative video will remain available. It is the best representation of epigenetic cause and effect that I have seen, and is also very concise (less than 4 minutes). A few minutes to watch it, and you can be very informed about some complex issues in behavioral development that are linked to the epigenetic effects of food odors and social odors on genetically predisposed behaviors.