As you know, better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick. Indeed: the ones at the bottom of the social ladder, often live shorter lives than those at the top. According to a new study conducted on monkeys, the stress of life at the bottom of the social ladder can have long-term health effects, which are not able to fix even the sudden growth of welfare.
Can genes remember information?
The results of the team led by researchers from Duke University and the University of Chicago taken from a long-term study of 45 females rhesus monkeys that live in the National research Primate Center Yerkes in Atlanta. Scientists suggest that those individuals who manage to move up the social hierarchy, often show signs of its once lowly status at the cellular level even after they are able to greatly rise in rank among his kinsmen.
It is known that female monkeys are fighting each other for status until, until a certain hierarchy and each individual will find their place in it. Dominant females, as a rule, do whatever you want, receiving the first portion of food and more space, often showing unwarranted aggression on other individuals in order to show who is the boss here.
In the experiment, the researchers put the strangers of female rhesus monkeys in groups of five individuals, inserting each of them into the cage individually. It was found that macaques understand who’s in charge, based on the principle of seniority. So that “newbies” will inevitably fall into the trap of trying to interfere less and retreat more often than other group members. A year later, the researchers reshuffled the group and again introduced monkeys in a different order, having established, thus, a new social regime.
As soon as changing the membership of a rhesus macaque in a new band and changed her social status. So, some monkeys, which were the targets in the first group were able to move up the ladder and become more dominant; the authority of other individuals declined significantly, forcing the monkeys to become more submissive. However, the results of the study show that current social rank of the monkey among his kin is not the only thing that matters is her last status also plays an important role. So, a team of scientists were able to determine 3735 different genes, the activity of which was affected by the former location of the monkey in the hierarchy, regardless of how her position has changed over time.
Those females, whose rating in the group fell a step or two down the social ladder, demonstrated a strong influence of recent demotion on their genes. Even more amazing was the fact that even when females were moving up the social ladder, the oppression to which they were subjected in the past, still had a lasting effect on their immune genes, strongly affecting their behavior.