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Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: from biology to society—Summary Latsis Symposium Aug 28–30, 2017, Zürich, Switzerland


Bohacek, Johannes; Engmann, Olivia; Germain, Pierre-Luc; Schelbert, Silvia; Mansuy, Isabelle M (2017). Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: from biology to society—Summary Latsis Symposium Aug 28–30, 2017, Zürich, Switzerland. In: Latsis Symposium 2017, Zürich, Switzerland, 28 August 2017 - 30 August 2017, 1-6.

Abstract

In biology, inheritance is a process that ensures the transfer of features and traits from parent to offspring. The most classic view of parental inheritance is that it is genetic and is embedded in genes contained in the genome in germ cells. However, genetic inheritance is now known to contribute to only a part of what an individual can transmit to its progeny. Thus, further to innate traits that each individual receives from its parents, acquired traits, which are traits acquired upon exposure to environmental factors or personal experiences, can also be inherited. This form of inheritance is not encoded in the sequence of genes but is mediated by mechanisms and processes elicited by the environment that modify the activity of the genome persistently across generations. Because it is not encoded in DNA sequences, it is called epigenetic or non-genetic. These mechanisms establish a link between the genome and the environment. They relate to the extremely important question of nature versus nurture namely, how much our own make-up is genetically or epigenetically determined, a question that remains unresolved. In August 2017, an international symposium was organized in Zürich, Switzerland to address the question of epigenetic inheritance.

The Latsis symposium 2017 on “Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: from biology to society” held at the ETH Zürich gathered international leaders in the field and focused on major questions and current challenges raised by the concept of epigenetic inheritance. The symposium was one of the first fully dedicated to the theme of epigenetic inheritance and covered scientific aspects from invertebrates to humans, and from behavior to metabolism in humans and animal models, mental health and epidemiology, bioinformatics and ethics. The symposium lasted 2.5 days and was attended by about 150 people from different countries. The program was structured in sessions of 3–3 h 30 min each (total of five sessions) including invited talks and short oral presentations. This summary provides an overview of the speakers’ presentations and focuses on four major topics: (i) evidence and challenges for epigenetic inheritance in humans, (ii) new insight and major questions raised by work in animal models, (iii) methodologies in epigenetics and (iv) evolution, societal impact and broader considerations.

Abstract

In biology, inheritance is a process that ensures the transfer of features and traits from parent to offspring. The most classic view of parental inheritance is that it is genetic and is embedded in genes contained in the genome in germ cells. However, genetic inheritance is now known to contribute to only a part of what an individual can transmit to its progeny. Thus, further to innate traits that each individual receives from its parents, acquired traits, which are traits acquired upon exposure to environmental factors or personal experiences, can also be inherited. This form of inheritance is not encoded in the sequence of genes but is mediated by mechanisms and processes elicited by the environment that modify the activity of the genome persistently across generations. Because it is not encoded in DNA sequences, it is called epigenetic or non-genetic. These mechanisms establish a link between the genome and the environment. They relate to the extremely important question of nature versus nurture namely, how much our own make-up is genetically or epigenetically determined, a question that remains unresolved. In August 2017, an international symposium was organized in Zürich, Switzerland to address the question of epigenetic inheritance.

The Latsis symposium 2017 on “Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: from biology to society” held at the ETH Zürich gathered international leaders in the field and focused on major questions and current challenges raised by the concept of epigenetic inheritance. The symposium was one of the first fully dedicated to the theme of epigenetic inheritance and covered scientific aspects from invertebrates to humans, and from behavior to metabolism in humans and animal models, mental health and epidemiology, bioinformatics and ethics. The symposium lasted 2.5 days and was attended by about 150 people from different countries. The program was structured in sessions of 3–3 h 30 min each (total of five sessions) including invited talks and short oral presentations. This summary provides an overview of the speakers’ presentations and focuses on four major topics: (i) evidence and challenges for epigenetic inheritance in humans, (ii) new insight and major questions raised by work in animal models, (iii) methodologies in epigenetics and (iv) evolution, societal impact and broader considerations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Event End Date:30 August 2017
Deposited On:19 Dec 2018 15:20
Last Modified:01 Jan 2019 15:38
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Series Name:Environmental Epigenetics
Number:2
OA Status:Green
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/eep/dvy012
PubMed ID:30034821

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