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Epigenetic inheritance in mammals: evidence for the impact of adverse environmental effects


Franklin, T; Mansuy, I M (2010). Epigenetic inheritance in mammals: evidence for the impact of adverse environmental effects. Neurobiology of Disease, 39(1):61-65.

Abstract

The epigenome is the overall epigenetic state of a cell and represents the ensemble of chromatin modifications. It is an essential mechanism for the regulation of the genome that depends on modifications of DNA and histones but does not involve any change of the DNA sequence. It was previously assumed that in order for appropriate cellular development and differentiation to occur in mammals, the epigenome was fully erased and reestablished between generations. However, several examples of incomplete erasure at specific genes have been reported, and this is suggested to be associated with the epigenetic inheritance of gene profiles. Although the existence of such a mode of inheritance has been controversial, there is increasing evidence that it does occur in rodents and humans. In this review, we discuss the evidence that adverse environmental factors can affect not only the individuals directly exposed to these factors but also their offspring. Because the epigenome is sensitive to environmental influence and, in some cases, can, in part, be transmitted across generations, it provides a potential mechanism for the transgenerational transmission of the impact of environmental factors. Environmental factors examined include exposure to toxicants, diet, and postnatal care, and DNA methylation is the main mechanism discussed in this review.

Abstract

The epigenome is the overall epigenetic state of a cell and represents the ensemble of chromatin modifications. It is an essential mechanism for the regulation of the genome that depends on modifications of DNA and histones but does not involve any change of the DNA sequence. It was previously assumed that in order for appropriate cellular development and differentiation to occur in mammals, the epigenome was fully erased and reestablished between generations. However, several examples of incomplete erasure at specific genes have been reported, and this is suggested to be associated with the epigenetic inheritance of gene profiles. Although the existence of such a mode of inheritance has been controversial, there is increasing evidence that it does occur in rodents and humans. In this review, we discuss the evidence that adverse environmental factors can affect not only the individuals directly exposed to these factors but also their offspring. Because the epigenome is sensitive to environmental influence and, in some cases, can, in part, be transmitted across generations, it provides a potential mechanism for the transgenerational transmission of the impact of environmental factors. Environmental factors examined include exposure to toxicants, diet, and postnatal care, and DNA methylation is the main mechanism discussed in this review.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:04 Jan 2011 10:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:32
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0969-9961
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2009.11.012
PubMed ID:19931614

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