How lifetimes shape epigenotype within and across generations

Whitelaw, Nadia C. and Whitelaw, Emma (2006) How lifetimes shape epigenotype within and across generations. Human Molecular Genetics, 15 2: R131-R137. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddl200


Author Whitelaw, Nadia C.
Whitelaw, Emma
Title How lifetimes shape epigenotype within and across generations
Journal name Human Molecular Genetics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0964-6906
Publication date 2006-01-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1093/hmg/ddl200
Volume 15
Issue 2
Start page R131
End page R137
Total pages 7
Editor A. Wynshaw-Boris
K. Davies
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
270205 Genetic Development (incl. Sex Determination)
730107 Inherited diseases (incl. gene therapy)
Abstract Despite our detailed characterization of the human genome at the level of the primary DNA sequence, we are still far from understanding the molecular events underlying phenotypic variation. Epigenetic modifications to the DNA sequence and associated chromatin are known to regulate gene expression and, as such, are a significant contributor to phenotype. Studies of inbred mice and monozygotic twins show that variation in the epigenotype can be seen even between genetically identical individuals and that this, in some cases at least, is associated with phenotypic differences. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that the epigenome can be influenced by the environment and these changes can last a lifetime. However, we also know that epigenetic states in real-time are in continual flux and, as a result, the epigenome exhibits instability both within and across generations. We still do not understand the rules governing the establishment and maintenance of the epigenotype at any particular locus. The underlying DNA sequence itself and the sequence at unlinked loci (modifier loci) are certainly involved. Recent support for the existence of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in mammals suggests that the epigenetic state of the locus in the previous generation may also play a role. Over the next decade, many of these processes will be better understood, heralding a greater capacity for us to correlate measurable molecular marks with phenotype and providing the opportunity for improved diagnosis and presymptomatic healthcare.
Keyword Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Genetics & Heredity
Position Effect Variegation
Dna Methylation
Gene-expression
Epigenetic Inheritance
Histone Acetylation
Monozygotic Twins
Human Centromere
Aging Mouse
Cpg Sites
Chromatin
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: 2007 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 19:53:29 EST