The following feedback, correspondence and discussion relates mainly to Vendramini’s 2005 paper on teem theory.

Most of the discussants are academics.

Professor G. A. Parker, Population and Evolutionary Biology Research Group, University of Liverpool

Dear Mr Vendramini,
How very fascinating! I’ve been worried for years about ‘junk’ DNA and its evolution. I guess first you need good evidence, and second, some plausible mechanism for how ‘teems’ evolve needs working out – it poses some probelms.
All best wishes,
Geoff Parker

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Parker,
Thanks for your response to teem theory. It’s much appreciated.Because of the limited space provided by scientific journals, I wasn’t able to include in the MH paper all the proofs for teem theory that I’ve accumulated over six years of research. The full case, supported by about 800 references can only be made in the 100,000 word book I’m writing, (The Second Evolution) which I hope will answer all your questions.

Professor James Shapiro, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. University of Chicago

Thanks for your email and the link to the web site. I prefer to think that repetitive and other non-coding DNA affects all the characters of cells and organisms, not just emotive and social phenotypes. However, your suggestion is provocative, and your paper has made me aware of some literature that I did not know. I wish you good fortune in pursuing your ideas.Best wishes,
Jim Shapiro

danny_vendramini_50Dear Jim,
Thanks for your positive response and encouragement which is greatly appreciated. Your feedback is invaluable.I agree completely that ncDNA affects more than just emotive and behavioural phenotypes. In Paper 5, ‘The teem theory of nonMendelian inheritance’, (on the web site) I argue that because innate behaviour and instincts invariably comprise both physical and emotional components, most teems (despite not coding for proteins) paradoxically regulate the expression of some coding genes. For instance, when a hostility teem is activated, (by transduced sensory stimuli or internal thoughts) in addition to releasing various emotions (anger, annoyance, resentment, fury etc.) the teem also triggers the expression of neurotransmitters and hormones that cause palpitations, sweating, pupil dilation, and other physical effects.I also agree that teem theory is ‘provocative,’ which is a two edged sword. While being provocative can stimulate constructive debate, it can also arouse entrenched scientific conservatism that can hinder acceptance for decades. For me though, of more importance is whether the theory is correct or not. Or at least scientifically plausible.

My problem is that most of my research on teem theory hasn’t been in genetics. It’s been in evolutionary biology, palaeontology, psychology, behavioural ecology, and anthropology. Extending teem theory to include a new theory of eukaryotic behavioural inheritance (‘the divided DNA hypotheses’), while a crucial part of the ‘unified theory,’ has drawn me into areas of molecular biology and genetics I have only a basic understanding of.

Is there a fundamental flaw in my arguments, have I overlooked or misinterpreted some vital piece of genetic evidence, are my conclusions correct? These are questions I need to answer before I attempt to have ‘The Second evolution’ published. That’s why having the theory critiqued by such a distinguished authority on ncDNA as yourself is so important. And appreciated.
Best wishes

Jessie White

Re: phenotypic plasticity-
I found your web site and paper illuminating. The case for ‘Teems’ controlling developmental plasticity appears sound although one would like to see more substantive support for such a hypothesis. That’s not meant to be a negative. Your challenging ideas have given me much food for thought. We need more ideas like this.
Thank you and best wishes.

danny_vendramini_50Dear Jessie,
Thanks for your kinds words. In the book I’m writing on teems, (‘The Second evolution’) I expand on the teem theory of phenotypic plasticity in more detail as I think this is an important if overlooked field of behavioral genetics.

Professor David Featherstone, Department of Biological Sciences.University of Illinois at Chicago

Hi Danny,
Teem theory is an interesting idea — reminds me a bit of Scientology. I think your scientific goal should be to determine the molecular mechanism(s) by which trauma can cause changes in DNA sequence (or otherwise isolate the heritable ‘thing’ left by trauma). For ideas on how this could be done, you might want to look at the early studies (1930s-1950s) of inheritance, which eventually figured out that DNA was the significant molecule of heritability (many people favored protein, and then subsequent studies (1950s onward) that figured out which sorts of sequences in particular led to heritable traits. I think TEEM theory is all very scientifically addressable, and can rely on standard genetic techniques. The problem with getting funding for this sort of thing is that you first need evidence that trauma is in fact heritable.I am not sure how much background in Genetics you have, but such knowledge is certainlyrelevant and you might find more of it useful in your pursuit of teems. If you’re interested in challenging independent study, I can recommend these texts: ‘Genes’ (latest edition) by Lewin and ‘Introduction to Genetic Analysis’ by Griffiths et al. It’s clear that you are already familiar with academic style and study, so please don’t be insulted by my suggesting these books — it’s just that I missed any solid discussion of the molecular basis of teems in your writings, and since such a basis will be required for greater recognition and practical use of your theory, I thought/hope you might find the pointer helpful.
All the best, Dave

danny_vendramini_50Dear Dave,
Many thanks for your constructive feedback and advice. It’s certainly much appreciated. While I know your suggestion to apply for funding to the Church of Scientology is based on well intentioned pragmatism, I wouldn’t feel happy being funded by a religious organization.Actually, funding for laboratory research and experimentation to verify the ncDNA hypothesis is not a priority for me. Verification or rejection of the theory can only come from geneticists like yourself who have a far deeper understanding of molecular biology than me. Hopefully the motivation will come from the belief that our current genetic paradigms, (especially in relation to the evolution of innate behaviour, the role of the environment in shaping genomes, and the elusive evolutionary function of noncoding DNA) are inadequate.My priorities are to publish a book on ‘The Second Evolution’ to provide a forum where this radical but scientifically plausible new unified theory of biology can be debated. But before I publish the book, I need to be as sure as possible that there’s no major mistakes in the genetic model. That’s why your feedback is so important and so appreciated.Best wishes

Professor Kirk Winemiller, Texas A&M University

Thanks for your message and information. Your theory is very novel and interesting. I have shared the information with interested colleagues.
Best regards, Kirk

J. Dayal Purohit
Dear Sir,
Your proposal that two evolutionary mechanisms administrate evolution is so very simple but equally very profound. It brought to mind Thomas Huxley’s remark when he was reading Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, “How incredibly stupid not to have thought of that myself.” The clues were there for all of us to see – nature always looks for the simplest and easiest solution.
salutations, JDP

danny_vendramini_50Thanks for your gracious comments.
A second evolutionary process, (to regulate behaviour) was inevitable because the existing natural selection system couldn’t create instincts (because instincts contain environmental information that would contaminate the germ line), and that would constitute ‘Lamarckian inheritance’, which is maladaptive. The only solution was to come up with a completely new type of evolutionary process.

Jonathan Blythe

Hello Danny Vendramini,
I looked over your website very briefly, and I think that you have some interesting hypotheses on evolution. I am an ecologist, so much of this material is outside of my specialty. I suspect, though, that it will be a very long time before the science could address some of these hypotheses. Of course there is no harm in developing new theory, but may I suggest that proposing a second theory of evolution is unnecessary. Social aspects of evolution are treated in a multi-level selection framework. I think of evolution as acting continuously across many scales. I just wanted to point out that a single dichotomy seems unnecessary.
Thank you

danny_vendramini_50Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for your feedback. It’s much appreciated.
kind regards,

Robert Johnson
My professor told me to check out your web site because my PhD thesis is on avian speciation. Can’t comment on most of your ideas though they make sense but your ideas on sexual selection sure hit a cord. Lots of avian speciation events I’ve looked at don’t square with Mayr and Dobzhansky, allopatry and postmating reproductive isolation just don’t explain how novel features arise and founder effect hasn’t got anything worthwhile to say about why speciation phenomena is so arbitrary. Emotions and emotional attraction never came into it. The theory of Teems identifies emotion, which shows how birds in conspecific flocks can abruptly establish isolated breeding populations. I take your point that emotional preferences are arbritary, so that all makes sense. Congratulations, I’ll look forward to reading the book when it’s finished.
Robert Johnson

danny_vendramini_50Thanks for your comments.
It’s understandable that ‘emotional attraction’ was overlooked as a factor in speciation by Mayr, Dobzhansky and others because emotions for most of the last century were not considered to be scientifically quantifiable or valid. Too wishy-washy. But when you think about it, most humans have very strong feelings about who they fall in love with, marry and have children with. I know a man who has only ever dated blondes. In a sense, he’s practising sexual selection. These decisions are all informed by powerful emotions. Why should it be any different with nonhuman animals. If a female bird is suddenly smitten by a male with say, distinctive yellow feathers or crop, it makes sense she will choose males displaying similar plumage in preference to other males. Teem theory simply explains how this emotional preference is genetically archived in her DNA.
Good luck with your thesis.

Professor Georg Striedter, UC Irvine.

Congratulations on your paper. I’m sure it is not easy to get your ideas to be accepted broadly, but persistence does pay off. Anyway, I think you might be interested in recent work (unfortunately I do not have references at my fingertips; Luis Villareal at UC Irvine recently wrote a book where he dicusses those ideas) suggesting that much of the “junk” in vertebrate genomes is due to viruses “invading” other genes.
Best wishes,

danny_vendramini_50Thanks for your comments.
And thanks too for pointing out Luis Villarreal’s interesting work on virus evolution and noncoding DNA. I wasn’t familiar with it.In effect, the supply of ‘junk DNA’ created by rapidly mutating viruses can be used by natural selection to create new protein-coding genes, or it can be used by the teemosis process to code for new emotions, innate behaviours and personality traits.


Professor Noam Chomsky, MIT

Thanks very much for sending. So overwhelmed with mail and other obligations that I have to put aside manuscripts, but will try to get to it. Sounds intriguing — but I wouldn’t have the technical competence to comment seriously.
Noam Chomsky

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Chomsky,
Thanks for your prompt and generous response. I’m delighted to receive your email.While teem theory may seem outside your field, because it appears to explain how new innate behaviours, emotions and instincts are encoded into DNA and inherited, it lends itself to a new theory of communications and language – with is very much your field.Over thirty years ago, you speculated that not only was the human capacity for language partially innate, but that its acquisition wasn’t regulated by natural selection, but by some as yet undiscovered biological process. Your confidence that another process existed was an important encouragement to me when I began my work on the evolution of innate behaviour. If teem theory is correct, (and it certainly seems to explain how nonverbal communication, interspecies communication, subliminal perception and language acquisition is created and inherited), then it confirms your theory that innate linguistic elements are created and inherited by a nonmutational process.
Best wishes,

Professor Roger D. Masters, Research Professor of Government & Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor Emeritus, President, Foundation for Neuroscience & Society

A question: Do you consider the evolution of nonverbal displays of emotion (which are species typical in humans — and actually similar in many non-human primates, but shaped to some degree by culture and language?) Why is traditional evolutionary theory incapable of accounting for the motor coordinations of smiling when you are happy and crying when sad?

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Masters,
Thanks for your interest in my work and for your intriguing questions.

If I read your first question correctly – are nonverbal displays of emotion shaped to some degree by culture and language – teem theory asserts that displays of emotions (smiles, grimaces, gestures etc.) are encoded into noncoding strings of our DNA as ‘teems’. Each teem not only contains the primary emotions, but additionally, the ‘trigger emotions’ that activate the teem. For example, humans have a number of ‘spider teems.’ Each spider teem includes the primary response emotions – (fear, dread, shock, concern, etc) plus a suite of unique emotions that code for, (or describe) the spider by its particular shape, size, colour and movement. In other words, a spider can be translated (transduced) into a set of emotions that distinguish it from a tiger, a bunch of flowers or a baby.

This transduced ‘emotional portrait’ is highly adaptive because it allows a person who has never seen a spider before to recognise it instantly by the unique emotions it transduces. These transduced emotions in turn trigger the primary spider emotions – fear, horror, anxiety, etc.

Significantly, both the primary teemic emotions and the trigger emotions can be altered by learning. Things like habituation, anxiety, repression and education can modify the teemic emotions. In addition, new triggers can be associated with the teem, or errors in transduction can affect it. For example, a furry ball of string may transduce into emotions that resemble a spider which can incorrectly trigger a spider teem.Because the only thing a teem contains is emotions, it can’t stipulate a complex or precise physical response.

This ensures a degree of latitude in relation to the expression of teems which appears to be adaptive. The physical response is influenced by personality, social conditions, learning, repression, (ie. cerebral control), etc. Typically though, (in the case of the spider teem), the fear emotions will generally induce physical movement away from the spider.Re motor coordination of smiling when you are happy and crying when sad, teem theory argues that over the eons, our ancestors have encoded a large number of happy and sad teems, each with its own precise emotions.

These teems extend from mild contentment to euphoria and from slight despondence to abject grief. The emotions encoded in these teems affect our bodies in a variety of imprecise ways, particularly in relation to muscle tension, galvanic skin resistance, heart beat and perspiration rate.Again, human personality ensures that each human expresses the same teem differently. Cultural restraints, over time, can significantly impact on expression, produces slight ‘national differences’ in societies.I hope this answers your questions.

Professor Roger Masters (2)
My reaction: your approach makes very good sense because the ability of Homo sapiens to adapt to widely different environments (obviously a key feature of the species) will be greatly enhanced through the ability to shape somewhat the triggers of emotional responses in the manner you describe.Moreover, such differences would then reinforce ingroup/outgroup discrimination and facilitate the extension of “group selected” limitations on altruistic behaviors to non-kin. That matters since the expansion of viable “group” size for a political unit from the hunter gatherer band (16-20) to the national-state (16 to 200 million people) is not a trivial detail in human evolution and cultural history.good luck.

Professor Peter Richerson, Department of Environmental Science and Policy. University of California Davis

Dear Danny,
It will be neat if it turns out to be true! Have you seen Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb’s latest book? They review several plausible mechanisms for the inheritance of acquired variation, but I don’t recall them mentioning yours. They are explicitly neo-neo-Lamarckians. By the way, Darwin was quite explicit about his belief in the inheritance of acquired variation. See the preface to the 2nd edition of the Descent of Man. In the Descent he treats human culture as simply one form of the inheritance of acquired variation.
Best, Pete

danny_vendramini_50Dear Peter,
Thanks for your response to the article on teem theory and for mentioning Jablonka and Lamb’s work, which I’m familiar with. Our lines of inquiry though are quite different. Their emphasis is on the inheritance of acquired PHYSICAL traits, whereas the teemosis process is primarily about BEHAVIOURAL evolution. In fact, I argue that teemosis was only able to emerge by natural selection because it didn’t affect the inheritance of physical traits. It only regulates the inheritance of information, (configured as emotions) and encrypted into noncoding regions of DNA. In this important respect, teemosis is a nonLamarckian process.There is of course a sound evolutionary reason why teemosis adopted ncDNA as its medium of inheritance. Emotions are acquired from the organism’s current environment and as the ‘central dogma’ tells us, nothing acquired from the environment during the life of the organism can be inherited inside a protein coding gene because it could contaminate the germline. This can result in the inheritance of disabilities acquired during the life of the organism, (like cancer, or lumbago) which would be maladaptive.The solution that natural selection came up with was to create an alternative system of inheritance that doesn’t use protein coding genes and therefore doesn’t involve the inheritance of physical traits.Yes, old Darwin was paradoxically both a Lamarckian as well as a Darwinist, but to his credit, he mainly looked to Lamarckian ideas to explain the evolution of complex, environmentally-specific instincts because his travels on Beagle convinced him that the environment was somehow ‘instructing what new behaviours emerged, something his own ‘selectionist’ process (natural selection) couldn’t do.

Professor Robert Trivers

Dear Mr Vendramini,
thank you for sending me yet another version of your ‘teem’ theory, the most bizarre and unlikely theory I have seen published in Medical Hypotheses, a journal that specializes in same. If you are right, nearly everything I know about genetics and development is wrong. I wish you all the best but personally I doubt the enterprise, start to finish,yours,
Robert Trivers

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Trivers,
Thanks for your refreshingly frank and unequivocal response.I readily agree that teem theory is a “most bizarre and unlikely theory,” but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. As you yourself said recently in an ‘Edge’ interview- “It’s a truism in science that those problems that most directly contradict current thinking or most directly challenge the system of logic you’re committed to are apt to be the most fruitful in revealing deeper aspects of reality.”Your suggestion that “If you are right, nearly everything I know about genetics and development is wrong” is not proof, nor even a scientific argument. It’s the expression of an apprehension that every scientist feels, myself included and which is part and parcel of doing science.If teem theory is fundamentally flawed, you need to specify precisely how and why it’s flawed.To test the theory, I’ve encouraged the most rigorous scrutiny from eminent life scientists around the world. Despite it being arguably the most radical (and unlikely) biological theory since Darwin, no one has so far pinpointed any fundamental flaw in the theory. In fact, I’d describe the response so far as on the whole, ‘cautiously positive’ which is encouraging, this despite the fact that teem theory challenges many of the fundamental beliefs of the scientists involved.To my mind, teem theory is best proved by withstanding the most demanding and concerted effects to disprove it. What’s left after this process will be the final version of teem theory. As one of the most distinguished evolutionary biologists, geneticists and anthropologists working today, I welcome and encourage your critical analysis of the theory as part of this process.Having said that, it’s worth remembering what Charles Darwin wrote in the Conclusion to The Origin of Species: “Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume under the form of an abstract, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine.”Best wishes,

Wiliam Novak
I taught Darwin and biology for more years than I care to remember. I am retired now but still like to keep up with what’s new. I read your book extract with great interest, thanks for putting it online. It’s a real achievement, up there with the best science I’ve come across. Just wish I had it when I was teaching, I could have answered a lot more of those curly questions students have a knack of coming up with. This is what the next generation of students will be learning.
Good luck with your work

danny_vendramini_50Thank you for you positive response. It’s not something I’ve thought about but it would be good to see teem theory being taught as part of the Darwinian paradigm.

Professor Pierre Capy, University of Paris

Dear Danny,
Your point of view seems interesting. For the moment, I did [not] have time to read your ms, but I will try to do it as soon as possible. Anyway, I have just a question: why do you wrote that “noncoding ‘junk’ DNA …codes for emotions, innate behaviour, instincts and personality in metazoans”. What are the arguments in favor of such an assertion ? What do you call “Junk DNA” ?

danny_vendramini_50Dear Pierre,
First let me say how delighted I am to here from you. Your work on stress and transposable elements has been very important to my own work. Merci.In response to your questions, my hypothesis asserts that while protein-coding nucleotide sequences (genes) code for physical traits, non-protein-coding nucleotides (‘teems’) code for emotions, personality and innate behaviours. This is what I call the ‘divided DNA hypotheses.’ It argues that natural selection gradually created a divided DNA molecule, which we know as ‘eukaryotic DNA.’ Separating protein-coding genes from non-protein-coding ‘teems’ was necessary to prevent information acquired from the environment during the life of the individual (things like instincts and emotions) from contaminating the germline – as this would constitute Lamarckian inheritance and would prove maladaptive. I use the term ‘junk DNA’ to describe any DNA nucleotide that does not code for a protein: – microsatellites, Alu elements, SINES, LINES, etc.Teem theory argues that severe emotional stress can cause transposable elements to replicate, delete, transpose, reorganise and reassemble into
linguistic patterns that ‘code for’ the traumatic emotions that caused the ‘directed mutation.’ Your work with Gasperi, Biemont and Bazin was crucial to this theory because it showed that these stress induced directed mutations (what I call ‘teems’) can be inherited to the next generation. That showed that the teemosis process was in fact a mechanism of inheritance – albeit, one that only inherited ‘non-physical’ things like emotions. For that I am eternally grateful.As far as the detailed arguments in favour of these hypotheses, the papers and book chapters on my web site probably explain it better than I can in an email. I hope you find the time to read them and look forward to your response.kind regards

Professor Ross Crozier. James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

Dear Dr Vendramini,
Thank you for mentioning your work to me. Some of your ideas parallel those of researchers who believe that there are very large portions of the genome dedicated to producing non-coding [regulatory] DNAs. Unfortunately, the evidence for this is yet to arrive, although a small number of microRNA genes is known.I can’t agree that we need a new class of genetic variation, and do not accept that the various phenomena you mention demand a different kind of gene and that this kind of gene is not subject to natural selection. [Where we can look, we find ordinary genes affecting behavior, speciation etc, and these are certainly subject to
selection]. But it is true that regulatory genes are pretty likely to be more important than genes in general in leading to significant innovations. A problem with this classification is that genes interact, so that all genes are ‘regulatory’ to some degree.Yours sincerely,
Ross Crozier

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Crozier,
Thanks for your response. Your comments are much appreciated.You write that I mention “a different kind of gene and that this kind of gene is not subject to natural selection.” May I take this opportunity to clarify what appears to be a misunderstanding. I don’t claim that teems are not subject to natural selection. In paper 1, “A second evolutionary process moderates the evolution of emotions and behaviour in metazoans,” I write that once genomically archived into ncDNA, “each teem is subject to step two of the Darwinian process – natural selection proper, which tests the new teem within the context of the organism’s current ecological circumstances.If the new teem precipitates an adaptive emotion, behaviour or personally trait, it is likely to be conserved, while maladaptive teems are eradicated from the gene pool.”
Teems encode emotions and innate behaviours . If those emotions are maladaptive, the teem will be eradicated, just as a maladaptive physical
trait would be.

Regarding your view that “I can’t agree that we need a new class of genetic variation,” I would agree with you if genes and natural selection adequately explained complex innate behaviour and instincts. But they don’t. In fact, despite fifty years of searching, behavioural geneticists don’t appear to have found a single protein-coding gene that codes for a complex innate behaviour or emotion. While they have found genes that code for simplex reflex behaviours (like egg-laying in the primitive marine snail, Aplysia, or rudimentary courtship behaviour in Drosophila), the genes for complex behaviour remain elusive. Whenever the press have heralded the discovery of a ‘criminality gene’, or a ‘homosexual gene’, these findings have invariably been challenged and dismissed.

By now, we should expect to have found the protein-coding sequence that tells new born turkeys how to recognise a hawk flying overhead? And why haven’t we found the protein-coding gene that tells monarch butterflies how to recognise the milkwood plant they lay their eggs on. And where is the gene that tells migrating green turtles how to find Ascension Island, over 2000 kms away. Where is the gene that encodes our own preference for park-like landscapes.

If I am correct, these behaviours will never be found within protein-coding genes because protein-coding genes code for proteins and polypeptides and cells and ultimately physical organs, plus a handfull of rudimentary reflex bahaviours. While it has always been inferred that proteins make emotions, personality or innate behaviours, there is no actual evidence for this. Behaviours and the emotions that support them are, I suggest encoded within non-protein-coding (so-called ‘junk DNA’) nucleotides.

Is there any evidence for this? I believe so. In 2003, Elizabeth Hammock and Larry Young from Emory University identified a 400 nucleotide noncoding sequence of microsatellites inside the regulatory region of the V1aR gene of the North American prairie vole that coded for monogamy. Sibling species, such as the montane vole that is missing this noncoding sequence do not display this monogamous social behaviour.
Kind regards

Carl Schlichting, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut

I looked at your web site.Natural selection is a powerful and ubiquitous force – we see it’s results not only in living systems, but in abiotic realms as well. Just take mineral processes as a simple example: softer rocks weather first, leaving harder rock behind (selection for survival); clay molecules aggregate on a self-replicating framework (selection for reproduction).
It is difficult to imagine that somehow natural selection was constrained from operating during the first 2 billion years that life existed. I don’t know if you address the issue of how the diversity of Pre-Cambrian forms did arise, but it is preposterous to suggest that differential survival and reproduction of variants was held in abeyance for 2 billion years.
Good luck with your quest, but your arguments appear destined to ultimately fail the acid test of the application of logic.
carl s

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Schlichting,
Thanks for your comments.You argue that “it is preposterous to suggest that differential survival and reproduction of variants was held in abeyance for 2 billion years,” but the fossil record of the first 3.2 billion years and a wealth of palentological evidence clearly supports this contention. The Precambrian record consistently reveals only sporadic, low level microevolution, interspersed with what Williamson, (Nature, 1981, 294,) called the “long-term morphological stasis now recognized as one of the most striking aspects of the fossil record.”While it’s widely believed that evolution tends towards increased complexity, paradoxically Carroll (Nature, Feb, 2001) observed that after more than three billion years, life on Earth was still “a world of microscopic forms, rarely achieving a size greater than a millimetre or a complexity beyond two or three cell types.”Steven Jay Gould reached similar conclusions in Natural History (Vol. 86, 6) – “The Precambrian fossil record is little more (save at its very end) than 2.5 billion years of bacteria and blue-green algae.”
In other words, throughout the Precambrian (about 90% of geologic time) natural selection (NS) failed to produce any animals or any real complexity or biodiversity.
The inability of Precambrian NS to achieve macroevolution challenges your view that NS is a “a powerful and ubiquitous force” that can’t be ‘constrained.’ To explain why NS throughout the Precambrian only produced organisms the size of a pin head, (and not much smarter) requires a radical new paradigm. Without teem theory to explain its percularities, the fossil record will remain problematical for evolutonary biologists, just as it was ‘Darwin’s dilemma’ 160 years ago.
Kind regards
Danny Vendramini

Professor Carl Schlichting (2)

The pre-Cambrian fossil record is the perfect exemplar for the maxim: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.
Broad conclusions from such a sparse record are likely to be faulty – especially when it is probably the physiological characteristics of those organisms that were undergoing the most evolutionary change.

danny_vendramini_50Dear Professor Schlichting,

You appear to be citing the argument that natural selection (NS) was busy throughout the Precambrian creating transitional forms, but that these are not preserved in the fossil record because they were soft-bodied. This argument has been challenged by fossils of soft-bodied fauna from Chengjiang, China and other sites that clearly demonstrate that soft tissues, including stomachs, eyes and digestive glands can be fossilised. If NS was producing significant intermediate forms throughout the Precambrian, there should be telling stratigraphic evidence of it. There isn’t.Still, we don’t need to rely on the fossil record to show that NS can actively retard evolution. In my book, ‘The Second Evolution’, I cite the example of jellyfish that evolved in an isolated lake on the island of Palau. Because all the jellyfish inhabited the same predator free environment, they all came under the same selective pressure so that today, the millions of jellyfish that inhabit the lake are all virtually identical. Because the jellyfish have all achieved optimum adaptation to this stable, homogenous environment, any change, (brought about by random mutations) would be maladaptive and therefore be selected against.In this way, NS acts as an agent of stasis.This stable aquatic ecosystem, I ague, mirrors the Precambrian environment and was one reason why evolution progressed at a snail’s pace for billions of years. It wasn’t until teemosis emerged (creating the instincts that fostered competition) that NS became a significant evolutionary mechanism.
kind regards

Professor Jaak Panksepp, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts

NB. This letter was edited slightly to remove private information not relevant to the discussion.

Dear Danny,

I agree with your thesis that “Darwin might have missed something”, but so would most people who have thought about such matters. After all he knew nothing about genes, etc. etc. etc. and concepts can only go so far, where facts will eventually have to guide ones thinking.I agree the good and evil (i.e., positive and negative affect) have to be coded into the system by the genes, but I really see no evidence yet that this is mostly in the noncoding regions of DNA. I expect the most of it will eventually be found in coding regions already discovered for a variety of affectively positive and negative neurochemsitries.I agree that affective experience is part of the inherited sets of tools for living that many animals have, and we already know very much about the underlying brain systems and also the neurochemistries, and none of it, in to my knowledge, yet requires us to look for the main solution in the noncoding DNA regions.

My challenge to you would be to ask what kind of scientific predictions you would make that could dramatically either support or disconfirm your theory. I am not aware of any realistic ones (i.e., ones that could be evaluated using present technologies) that you have yet generated. Without that, your “insight” resembles more of the type of valuable thinking that is common in the humanities than in the sciences. . . but perhaps I am not thinking clearly at the moment, while sitting and waiting for my wife at the University of Idaho libarary. .. in a wonderful little town called Moscow.

Do let me know if you are ever in this little corner of the world, and it would be a delight to meet you in person.Best wishes in your explorations, and I do look forward to future installments of your thinking/work.


danny_vendramini_50Dear Jaak,
Hope you’re enjoying your new life at Washington State. Thanks for the invitation. If I’m ever in those parts, I’d love nothing better than to chat with you.Thanks for your thoughts on noncoding DNA and emotions. They’re much appreciated.

May I suggest a few reasons while I can’t see complex innate behaviours and emotions being encrypted in protein coding areas of DNA.Firstly, genes code for proteins, from which cells and physical organs are created – the body’s ‘hardware’ if you like. Although innate behaviours and emotions use this hardware, they are in fact more akin to ‘software,’ being essentially mediums of ephemeral information. Can emotions be coded from proteins or is the molecular chemistry more specialised than that?

Secondly, protein coding genes rely on mutations which are known to be random. While it’s easy to see how random mutations can fuel incremental, gradualistic physical evolution, lots of innate behaviours and instincts reflect the organism’s current environment, (for instance, what a particular predator or food source looks like) things that are external to the genome and to which the mutational process is blind. For example, can a random mutation encode in turkeys the precise shape and flight characteristics of its principal predator, the hawk, so that newly hatched turkey chicks will run for cover when they see a hawk flying overhead (Tinbergen, 1948) but will not do so when they see a pigeon or other nonpredatory bird. It seems more plausible that some evolutionary adjunct emerged that allowed the organism’s current environment to instruct the genome with adaptive information?

Third, so far, no protein coding sequence has yet been discovered that corresponds to a complex innate behaviour, whereas Hammock and Young (2002) announced they discovered a 400 nucleotide sequence of noncoding DNA that precisely corresponded to monogamy in prairie voles. Is this genetic evidence of a teem? Possibly.

Finally, you asked, what does teem theory predict and explain? On my web site, at I’ve just listed about 20 currently unexplained biological phenomena that teem theory appears to explain and predict. Included is the Cambrian explosion, the ubiquitous presence of emotions in multicellular animals, the function of ncDNA and why it is conserved in a wide range of metazoan genomes from mice to humans, inconsistencies in the fossil record that have baffled palaeontologists for over a century, speciation, blindsight, synaesethesia, etc.

I guess though that where we differ most is that I don’t subscribe to the Skinnerian idea that the brain is the sole creator of emotions. I argue that
when a CNS receives sensory stimuli from sensory organs, it produces ‘patterned neuronal activity’ which the CNS of even the simplest organism
can interpret as distinctive emotions. The teemosis process simply allows some of these emotions to be archived in DNA and accessed by descendents. In this way, each species builds up its own unique library of emotions which in turn, precipitate specific behaviours.
All the best.

Fran Bonier, University of Washington

Dr. Vendramini,
First – I’m not a Dr. yet, still at least a year away from it. I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Washington.Second – your theory is certainly radical. I would like to see an explanation of the molecular model of translation of emotions into mutations, and an explanation of the subsequent spread of those identical mutations to all of the germ cells (difficult given that human females have all of their ova at the time of their birth). And then an explanation of how the mutations code for an emotion. Without these basics, there isn’t any way that one can assess the potential validity of your theory. I study corticosterone, and do not know of any actions that it has that actually alter DNA. It impacts expression of genes, but not their sequences.Third – you describe natural selection as the one and only mode of evolution, negelcting drift and sexual selection (among others). So your evolutionary force is not really the “second” one. And I do not agree that macroevolution requires a different evolutionary force from microevolution, and feel there is sufficient evidence to show that most macroevolutionary change has occurred gradually, as any evolutionary change does.Good luck with your work. Hope my feedback is useful.
Best, Fran Bonier

danny_vendramini_50Dear Fran,
Thanks for your prompt and interesting response. The points you make are certainly thought provoking.

I appreciate you want specific details and proofs supporting “the molecular model of translation of emotions into mutations, and an explanation of the subsequent spread of those identical mutations to all of the germ cells.”

While papers 1-5 certainly provide many details, along with copious references, (including references supporting the prediction of inheritable stress induced mutations of noncoding DNA,) I’m the first to admit these papers don’t provide the kind of detailed molecular and genetic evidence you (and other life scientists) would rightly expect.

This of course doesn’t mean the theory is flawed. It simply reflects the fact that theory precedes observation, often by many years. For example, although Darwin and Wallace first put forward their theories of natural selection in 1859, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the molecular mechanisms of natural selection, (ie, point mutations, DNA, RNA, proteins, polypeptides, genes, etc.) were fully understood and accepted. Similarly, although Gregor Mendel published his theory of inheritance in 1865, it took another fifty years to identify and articulate the molecular-genetic mechanisms of inheritance.

While teem theory appears to explain a raft of diverse biological phenomena, from instincts and emotions to the Cambrian explosion and the capricious permutations of the fossil record, verification, (or rejection) of the theory will only come gradually, from experimenters, clinicians and hands on researchers such as yourself.

This won’t be an easy task. Because the teemosis evolutionary system mediates a complex biological interaction between the environment and the genome, it is inordinately complex, and will be difficult to extrapolate from the parallel Mendelian inheritance system.
Because of this, in my book, ‘The Second Evolution’ I predict that it will take geneticists and molecular biologists at least ten years to unravel the myriad genetic infrastructure of teemosis and understand all its genetic elements. I also think it will take at least two decades to fully decipher the emotional language contained in noncoding nucleotides of DNA.

So while I appreciate you would like to see concrete proofs provided for all the elements of teem theory (just as I would), I’m afraid these may take some time. In the meantime, teem theory provides a guide – a map that experimenters, clinicians and researchers can use to help verify, amend or refute the theory.

Your second point – that genetic drift and sexual selection are evolutionary processes – so teemosis can’t be a ‘second’ evolutionary process, also makes a good point and requires a response.While some text books argue that drift and sexual selection are evolutionary processes, I take a different view, based on the fact that the real evolutionary engine of natural selection is the mutational process. I suggest that because genetic drift and sexual selection both rely on random mutations of protein-coding genes to effect inheritable modifications of physical traits, they are both examples of natural selection. All they really do is determine which trait gets selected. The actual ‘evolution’ is achieved by the mutational process.
So while natural selection, sexual selection and genetic drift all rely on the same evolutionary process (random mutations of protein-coding genes), teemosis uses non-random mutations of non-protein-coding nucleotides to achieve a different (non-physical) kind of evolution.
This is not just semantics. Teemosis is unique as an evolutionary process in as much as it doesn’t moderate the evolution of physical traits as all the natural selection processes do. It only moderates the inheritance of emotional traits.

Finally, you write, “I do not agree that macroevolution requires a different evolutionary force from microevolution, and feel there is sufficient evidence to show that most macroevolutionary change has occurred gradually..”

Despite being a widely held opinion, especially among older biologists, I suggest this idea is not actually supported by current scientific data. In fact, the hard evidence of the fossil record clearly demonstrates that for the first 3.2 billion years of life on earth, NS didn’t produce anything even remotely resembling biological complexity or diversity (macroevolution,) a scenario that is completely at odds with Darwin’s gradualistic, incremental model of evolution.

Macroevolution only became a feature of evolution about 543 million years ago, and dates precisely to the emergence of the teemosis evolutionary process.

Thanks again for your very interesting and valuable feedback.
Kind regards
Danny Vendramini

Jeff Garcia
Good site.
[Fran] Bonier says there’s evidence that macroevolutionary change occurs gradually, a fairly presumptuous statement even for a student. Like most biofolk, she assumes macroevolution isthe result of selection because that’s the only kind of evolution her text books talk about, As someone whos burnt the midnight oil trying to crunch the kind of numbers of random mutations you need to produce anything vaguely complex, the idea that there’s some nonrandom machinery producing complexity makes a whole lot of sense. What we need is a mathematically realistic explanation for macroevolution something that doesn’t rely on the mega odds lottery of random genes. If this theory of yours can do that and it looks like maybe it can that’s a fairly important step.
.Jeff Garcia

Werner Meyer

I have read the papers that touch on my own field of genetics and find the material very interesting. Though I cannot remark on aspects that are outside my area of competence, your case for a second genetic code in eukaryotic DNA is strongly argued and entirely plausible. A very convincing hypothesis indeed. It has given me much to think of.cordially,
Werner Meyer

Robin Allott

Thank you for your email. I will look at your site. The idea seems interesting.
Robin Allott

Steve Rosenberg (1)

My compliments on your web site and well presented ideas. A number of questions spring to mind but I’ll start with just one. Your theory seems to support the chief premise of evolutionary psychology, ie. that human nature evolved during the Pleistocene epoch preponderantly to help hunter-gatherer ancestors solve adaptive problems related to hominization. But if my reading of your material is correct, you claim the cognitive and psychological faculties that evolved to provide domain-specific adaptations are emotions rather than specialized computational brain circuits as proposed by Tooby, Cosmides and others. Can you clarify this?
best wishes,

danny_vendramini_50Dear Steve,
Thanks for your interesting question which gets to the core of what ‘human nature’ really is. If human nature was exclusively a function of brain-based (cortical) modules, you would expect it to reflect the precision and exactitude of cognitive thought – ie. rational, precise, cogent. It doesn’t. Human nature appears to be made up of nebulous ephemeral elements – desires, urges, preferences, fears, inclinations, needs, etc. which ultimately are all emotions. This fits with the teem theory prediction that human nature is not a collection of inherited thoughts, logic sequences or deductions. It is a collection of inherited feelings.

This model explains why human nature can provide humans with a universal preference for ‘park-like surroundings’ but it can’t precisely name what trees or shrubs make up that preference. This is because emotions can’t proscribe specific concrete information. A human nature teem can provide men with an innate preference for women ‘shorter than myself’ (because ‘relative height’ can be encoded emotionally) but it can’t provide an innate preference for a specific height. It can’t encode a preference for a female 5’ 7” tall for instance. The corollary of all this is that all the disparate elements that make up human nature are comprised of emotions. If information can’t be encoded into emotion, it can’t form part of human nature. There appears to be no exceptions to this rule.


Steve Rosenberg (2)

Interesting. What’s your take on the criticism that evolutionary psychology is guilty of anthropocentrism because it focuses on humans at the expense of lower species?

danny_vendramini_50I think that’s a valid criticism. Early Christian philosophers hubristically redefined our own motley collection of instincts and innate behaviours as ‘human nature’ to elevate them above the other animals and support the notion that only ‘only humans have souls.’ Teem theory shows that ‘human nature’ is simply a species-specific library of teems, something we share with every other teemic species.

‘Human nature’, and ‘gorilla nature’, and even ‘worm nature’ are all equally valid as they were all acquired by the same evolutionary process – teemosis.

Dr. Fiona Yih Ling Chan, Monash University (1)

Hi Danny,
I’m a medical doctor currently doing a PhD on the role of the insulin gene in diabetes. I read the article about you in The Age today and subsequently your website and paper with great interest as ncDNA is in my field of study.

I had a couple of issues relating to the genetic aspects of your theory. Firstly, I think it is widely accepted that non-coding DNA (specifically, the promoter regions and introns of genes and some other elements) can play a very important role in modifying the expression of proteins and is therefore not actually ‘junk’ DNA.

Secondly, I do not think the divided DNA hypothesis is a new idea. There is actually a branch of genetics known as epigenetics which deals with a second mode of inheritance not directly encoded by the DNA sequence but rather through modifications of the DNA such as methylation, chromatin conformation and a phenomenon known as imprinting. Some of these modifications are transmissible from parent to offspring. There is emerging evidence that some of these ‘epigenetic marks’ are also responsive to environmental stresses and can provide a sort of ‘genetic memory’. (It is not too great a leap to imagine that emotions, if sufficiently strong or sustained, could also affect these marks) However, all of these modifications ultimately affect the expression of proteins to give the phenotype of the animal/plant. I can give you references for these things if you’re interested.

Hope the feedback was useful. I think epigenetics could provide the molecular mechanisms you’re looking for.

Best wishes, Fiona Chan


danny_vendramini_50Dear Fiona,
Thank you for your thoughtful comments. They’re much appreciated. While the evolutionary function of ncDNA was initially derided, then cautiously acknowledged, particularly when it was found that ncDNA is highly conserved in a variety of metazoan genomes, the latest opinions is that ncDNA performs a variety of little understood function in relation to protein coding genes, and especially, as you point out, in promoter and regulatory regions. However, I argue that in addition to these regulatory roles, ncDNA has a completely different evolutionary function related to the encryption of emotions, which are not encoded inside protein coding genes, but within introns and other noncoding regions of the DNA molecule.

The divided DNA hypothesis is as far as I know the first time anyone has suggested that two quite separate modes of genetic inheritance coexist
within the DNA molecule, one that uses protein coding genes to code for physical traits and another that uses ncDNa to code exclusively for
‘non-physical information obtained from the organism’s current environment, something that was thought to be impossible, especially because coding genes are tenaciously resistant to all but the most toxic environmental forces – things like radioactivity and chemical mutagens. This is quite different
from epigenetics, methylation, X chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting which relate to protein coding genes and physical traits.

When I was searching for a molecular mechanism by which emotions, instincts and innate behaviours (from the environment) could be encoded into the
genome, I initially suspected some epigenetic mechanism was involved. Eventually though, I realised that methylation and other epigenetic
mechanisms evolved to perform important regulatory roles in relation to the expression of protein coding genes, for example in relation to phenotypic
plasticity, (silencing genes in response to certain environmental factors), developmental cues and so on, and did not have the molecular
complexity to code for, store and retrieve complex behaviours. As you say, “all of these modifications ultimately affect the expression of proteins”
but proteins, according to teem theory are only half the story – admittedly the ‘physical’ half. The other half – the emotional-behavioural matrix are
not, I assert, fabricated form proteins, but from teems.

Thanks again for your fascinating and thought provoking comments.
best wishes
Dr. Fiona Yih Ling Chan (2)

Hi Danny,

I think I see what you mean but as you have stated, ’emotions’ are patterns of neuronal activity which are the result of sensory stimuli transduced through the ‘CNS’. However, these sensory stimuli are physical phenomena, as are the neurons, their activity and the ‘CNS’ so I am confused as to what “bit” of a given emotion is actually ‘non-physical’.

danny_vendramini_50 Very good point Fiona. I’m the first to agree that the distinction I draw between physical and emotional can be problematical. Obviously, in the final analysis, everything is physical, but the distinction is nevertheless important, and I’d even suggest the failure of biologists to understand the
subtle but complex difference has been one of the major reasons why teem theory wasn’t discovered ages ago.

The distinction between physical and emotional relates specifically to inheritance and in particular, the molecular mechanisms governing protein
coding genes. Emotions are acquired from the organism’s current environment and as the central dogma tells us, nothing acquired from the environment
during the life of the organism can be inherited inside a gene because it can cause contamination of the germline. This can result in the inheritance
of acquired disabilities (like cancer) which would be highly maladaptive.

The solution that natural selection found (by trial and error) was to create an alternative system of inheritance that doesn’t use protein coding genes
and therefore doesn’t involve the inheritance of physical traits.

Importantly, the teemosis process doesn’t involve the inheritance of any physical trait – no brain, bones, blood, hormones, cells, nothing. It only
passes on emotions coded inside ncDNA as a nucleotide sequence. Once the emotions are passed down from one generation to the next, they are decoded
using existing physical traits (that evolved by natural selection.) So there’s no problem with physicality in each generation, it’s simply the
transition (or inheritance) that can’t involve a physical trait.

I hope this explains it, but I suspect I have a long way to go before I can communicate this important evolutionary distinction in a way that people can
easily understand.

Let me put it another way, although emotions can have a physical manifestation, for the purposes of inheriting emotions from one generation
and the next, emotions cannot be inherited by the Mendelian process that normally regulates the inheritance of physical traits because they would
contaminate the germline. They need to be transferred by a special (non-physical) system of inheritance to prevent them violating the central
dogma. Is that better?



Dr. Fiona Yih Ling Chan (3)
Right! I’m getting the picture. Would it be right to say then that TEEMs basically form a DNA matrix in which protein-encoding exons are “embedded”? Thus they provide the behavioural context in which those proteins are expressed?

In the context of modern times, would your theory predict that the ‘baby boomer’ generation should have a characteristic pattern of TEEMs (or nucleotide changes in ncDNA) as a result of their parents’ wartime experiences? It would be good if you could find evidence that the germline mutation rate in ncDNA was higher than in coding DNA. It would be even better if you could show that it changed through the life of the organism. Sir Alec Jeffreys is a UK expert on (human) DNA fingerprinting & has an interest in micro/minisatellite DNA as well as meiotic recombination. His papers should give you some idea.

danny_vendramini_50Hi Fiona,
I’m afraid I don’t quite understand what you mean by ‘embedded in a matrix.’

Teems, like all ncDNA get spliced out prior to protein synthesis, so they are inherited to the next generation but do not code for proteins. If you think about it, there’s an awful lot of very complex biochemestry needed to splice out the ncDNA and prevent it from coding for amino acids, polypeptides and proteins but still allow it to be inherited to the next generaiton. It must perform some important functional purpose, and that purpose is, I suggest, to ensure the separation of information acquired from the enviorment from protein coding genes that code for phsyical traits. Teems encoded within introns and other ncDNA sequences make the trip to the next generation but in a way that they don’t contaminate or compromise the transmission of physical traits.

Re your second very interesting question about children inheriting the war time experiences of their parents thorugh the temosis process, I did a bit of research and yesterday came across a study of Australian Vietnam veterans that is very interesting. Thanks for suggesting it to me.
The study –

showed that veterans suicided a three times the normal rate, which is not surprising given the trauma of war. But the study also showed that their
children also killed themselves at three times the normal rate. Could this be because their fathers encoded a stressful ‘combat teem’ (which included
toxic emotions like horror, panic, anxiety, depression, and hopelessness) and passed it on to their children? It’s difficult to know for sure because
it’s impossible to separate the cultural, psychological, family dynamic influences from the genetic. Still, I’m mulling over the findings.
Thanks for the tip re Sir Alec Jefferys. I’ve written to him about my work. I noticed that one of his papers was about the role of the insulin minisatellite in susceptibility to type 1 diabetes. Interesting. It’s completely outside my field but was wondering – given that minisatellites mutate in resposne to stress, could stress or other toxic emotions be a factor in precipitaitng diabetes? As far as I knew, the risk factors – age, obesity, ethnic backgorund, family history were well known, but decided to check up anyway. I found a study that linked depression with type 2 diabetes.
“11,615 healthy adults were followed for six years. At baseline all persons were evaluated for depression. Those people in the highest quartile (top 25
percent) for depressive symptoms had a 63 percent increased risk of developing diabetes during the six year follow-up compared to the 25 percent for people with the fewest depression symptoms.”
Interesting. It fits with teem theory’s view that high potency emotions shuffle ncDNA, sometimes resulting in diseases like diabetes.
Anyway, it was just a thought.

Professor Timothy Mousseau, Dept of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina
Hi Danny,
You really must work on the transmission from soma to germ line (i.e. inheritance) aspects of your ideas before anyone will take them seriously.
Otherwise you will be labeled a Lamarkian.

There are many mechanisms for non-genetic transmission (i.e. see my book and papers on maternal effects!), and there are a few recent papers on genomic instability and bystander effects that suggest heritable responses to stress (radiation, in this case) that can be expression by non-target cells or in later generations (i.e. long after the stressor has stopped). This is an emerging field motivated by cancer studies showing that cancers can
sometimes arise in tissues not targeted by radiation therapy.
Good luck!

danny_vendramini_50Dear Tim,
Thanks for your response to my work.
In my MH paper, in the five additional papers on my web site, and in several pages of the web site, I stress that the teemosis evolutionary process is nonLamarckian because it does not affect protein-coding genes or the inheritance of physical traits. This ensures it does not contravene the central dogma of biology. Teemosis only regulates the inheritance of emotions.

Regarding the transmission from soma to germ line, I cite clinical evidence that clearly demonstrates that stress induced mutations of noncoding DNA can be inherited to offspring, precisely as predicted by teem theory.

Thanks for mentioning your work on maternal effects. In Paper 5, The teem theory of nonMendelian Inheritance, I argue that instances of phenotypic plasticity, including maternal effects may be activated by high salience emotions encoded in teems.

To quote from the paper –
“teemosis provides the means by which environmental circumstances can generate emotional traumas that initiate a change in phenotype. This may occur when anomalous environmental conditions (AEC) generate an emotional trauma in an individual that is transduced by sensory organs into an Emlanic ‘sentence.’

The sentence binds to ncDNA receptor molecules, that in turn trigger transcriptional activators that moderate regulatory regions of specific genes and alters their expression. One consequence is to activate methylation to silence the existing phenotype and activate a dormant phenotype. For example, the emotional trauma experienced by numerous amphibian species of tadpoles caused by the evaporation of their ponds can alter the expression of genes that accelerate metamorphosis.”
Of course, it’s only a theory.
kind regards,

Professor Timothy Mousseau (2)

Hi Danny,
Very interesting. Time to do some experiments, eh?
cheers (From Nagasaki, Japan).

Melina Ellis

Greetings Mr. Vendramini,
I read the article written about you in The Age on the 3/1/06 and was prompted to contact you regarding your hypothesis of TEEMs.
I’m curious to find out if you have read much of Richard Dawkins or are familiar with the theory of MEMEs? Dawkins, describes similar attributes for ncDNA contributing to emotional and behavioural phenotypes inherited through repeated exposure and/or imitation, what he coins memes. The reason I ask is having read much on this topic (out of personal interest) I find many links between your respective ideas, insomuch as to think that these ideas are built on the same foundations and differ little.

Others, who have written on this idea and are worth a read if you’re interested include: Jared Diamond, Daniel C. Dennett or Susan Blackmore’s ‘The Meme Machine’.

Granted also, the article in the Age presented an oversimplified view of your idea to the degree that they misquoted, saying it is the central nervous system and not the brain which plays a more important role, when the brain (along with the spinal cord make up the central nervous system). It is difficult to present ideas without having them misconstrued or translated into laymen’s terms such that any meaning is rendered insignificant, however there are many ideas out there which extend upon what you say and could help to develop yours further.
Kind regards,
M. Ellis

danny_vendramini_50Dear Melina,
Thanks for your response to the article on teem theory and for suggesting Richard Dawkins to me. As you’d expect, I’m quite familiar with Dawkins. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of his ‘meme theory’ – to be honest I can’t quite work out the difference between a ‘meme’ and an ‘idea.’ It’s like he’s just appropriated the word ‘idea’ given it a new name, dressed it up in scientific jargon and pinned his name to it as its discover. Information is spread by ideas, communication and culture. What’s original about that?
Similarly, I thought Susan Blackmore’s ‘The Meme Machine’ was an inferior and sloppy work. Sorry about that.

Tim ORourke, Bathurst NSW Australia
I think your teem theory is absolutly fantastic. A proud Darwinist myself I often contemplated introvertently that there must be something missing from natural selection. Its about time that someone like yourself projected something fresh (and not to mention plausable) into the scientific community to compliment the origin of species.

I also think that you are in a fantastic position to propose such a theory, (having no qualifications in the specific field) and I have nothing but admiration for the obvious hard work you’ve put into formulating your ideas.
You have my thanks and support.

George Spragens

The biological mechanisms for the genetic encoding of traumatic experience have been described by cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of “The Biology of Belief.” (His website is A web search for “epigenetics” might also turn up relevant and interesting ideas.

danny_vendramini_50Dear George,
Thanks for your response to the article on teem theory and for suggesting Bruce Lipton’s work. I’ll check it out.
best wishes,

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