The case for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans

The case for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans Work in the laboratory mouse has identified a group of genes, called metastable epialleles, that are informing us about the mechanisms by which the epigenetic state is established in the embryo. At these alleles, transcriptional activity is dependent on the epigenetic state and this can vary from cell to cell in the one tissue type. The decision to be active or inactive is probabilistic and sensitive to environmental influences. Moreover, in some cases the epigenetic state at these alleles can survive across generations, termed transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Together these findings raise the spectre of Lamarckism and epigenetics is now being touted as an explanation for some intergenerational effects in human populations. In this review we will discuss the evidence so far. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Mammalian Genome Springer Journals

The case for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in humans

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Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology ; Anatomy ; Cell Biology
ISSN
0938-8990
eISSN
1432-1777
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00335-008-9124-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Work in the laboratory mouse has identified a group of genes, called metastable epialleles, that are informing us about the mechanisms by which the epigenetic state is established in the embryo. At these alleles, transcriptional activity is dependent on the epigenetic state and this can vary from cell to cell in the one tissue type. The decision to be active or inactive is probabilistic and sensitive to environmental influences. Moreover, in some cases the epigenetic state at these alleles can survive across generations, termed transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. Together these findings raise the spectre of Lamarckism and epigenetics is now being touted as an explanation for some intergenerational effects in human populations. In this review we will discuss the evidence so far.

Journal

Mammalian GenomeSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 29, 2008

References

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