Noncoding DNA and the teem theory of inheritance, emotions and innate behaviour

Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(3):512-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2004.08.022.


The evolutionary function of noncoding 'junk' DNA remains one of the most challenging mysteries of genetics. Here a new model of DNA is proposed to explain this function. The hypothesis asserts the DNA molecule contains not one, but two separate modes of inheritance. In addition to exons that code for proteins and physical traits, it is argued noncoding repetitive elements code for the inheritance of emotions and innate behaviour in metazoans. That is to say, noncoding DNA functions as the medium of a second, hitherto unknown evolutionary process that genetically archives adaptive information, configured as emotions and acquired during the life of an organism, into an inheritable form. This second evolutionary process, here called 'Teemosis', is a selectionist process, but paradoxically, because it does not affect physical traits, it has no maladaptive Lamarckian consequences. The medical implications of the hypothesis are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Intergenic*
  • Emotions*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Instinct*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics*


  • DNA, Intergenic