Our families pass on pieces of themselves to us in more than one way. Your eye colour may be thanks to genetic inheritance, but not everything we inherit is encoded in the letters of our DNA. An affinity for Russian literature might be something your parents passed on via social influence, reading it to you before bedtime, just as their parents did for them. Life experiences such as trauma, researchers have recently found, can be passed on, too. Children can inherit the changes that occur in how their parents genes are expressed due to environmental stressors.