Illustration of a baby and mom looking at a family photo
Infographic: Questions Linger About Epigenetic Inheritance
Some studies suggest that associations between the health of children and the experiences of their parents or grandparents may be due to epigenetic mechanisms, but confounding factors challenge this interpretation.
ABOVE: © NANOCLUSTERING.COM
Infographic: Questions Linger About Epigenetic Inheritance
Infographic: Questions Linger About Epigenetic Inheritance

Some studies suggest that associations between the health of children and the experiences of their parents or grandparents may be due to epigenetic mechanisms, but confounding factors challenge this interpretation.

Some studies suggest that associations between the health of children and the experiences of their parents or grandparents may be due to epigenetic mechanisms, but confounding factors challenge this interpretation.

ABOVE: © NANOCLUSTERING.COM
epigenetic
Illustration showing two hands join, father or mother with child
Does Human Epigenetic Inheritance Deserve a Closer Look?
Catherine Offord | Apr 4, 2022
The concept of epigenetic inheritance has long been controversial. Some researchers hope that new data on cross-generational effects of environmental exposures will help settle the debate.
health care provider standing in front of gynecology stirrups holding swabs for Pap smear
DNA Methylation Could Predict Ovarian, Breast Cancers
Anna Napolitano | Feb 11, 2022
A pair of new studies finds that analyzing material from a Pap smear can reveal tumor risk in distant parts of the body, potentially allowing early interventions.
white mouse with pups
Doubts Raised Over Whether Mice Can Truly Inherit Immunity
David Adam | Jan 26, 2022
An independent lab fails to replicate results suggesting mammals exposed to pathogens could pass on immunological protections through epigenetic mechanisms.
white adult mouse with 4 pups on white background
Mice that Survive Infection Pass on Stronger Immunity
David Adam | Oct 18, 2021
Offspring of animals subjected to a real or simulated pathogen were more able to fend off disease, a study finds.
Two sets of identical twin children sitting
Identical Twins Carry Distinctive Epigenetic Marks: Study
Chloe Tenn | Sep 30, 2021
Researchers found more than 800 sites in the genome where the twins bore the same chemical tags.
A black mouse runs on a yellow and green spinning wheel against a blue background
Exercising During Pregnancy Protects Mouse Offspring
Jack J. Lee | Aug 1, 2021
Obese mice that exercised while pregnant gave birth to pups that grew up free of the metabolic issues present in the adult young of sedentary obese mothers—possibly by staving off epigenetic changes to a key metabolic gene.
diabetes complications type 2 biomarker blood test screen hydroxymethylation epigenetics cytosine
Blood-Based Epigenetic Screen Tests for Diabetes Complications
Katarina Zimmer | Oct 1, 2019
Researchers could accurately detect life-threatening vascular complications in type 2 diabetes patients by analyzing hydroxymethylated cytosines in freely circulating DNA.
circadian clock microbiome hdac3 histone deacetylation acetylation epigenetics gene expression metabolism fat lipid intestine gut
Microbes Shape Circadian Rhythms in the Mouse Gut
Kerry Grens | Sep 27, 2019
The diurnal cycles of the microbiome alter the activity of a protein produced by the host, and in turn guide histone acetylation, gene expression, and metabolic activity.
Unhatched Gulls Shake Their Shells to Warn Siblings of Danger
Nicoletta Lanese | Jul 23, 2019
The unborn chicks translate auditory alarms from adult birds into quaking vibrations.
nancy davidson fred hutch epigenetics breast cancer
Q&A: Epigenetic Therapies for Breast Cancer
Katarina Zimmer | Apr 4, 2019
Breast cancer researcher and oncologist Nancy Davidson discusses what we’ve learned from the first wave of epigenetic trials for breast cancer, and what challenges lie ahead before such therapies reach the clinic.
Could Grandpa’s Early Diet Affect Your Health?
Shawna Williams | Apr 1, 2019
A large study seeks to answer whether a man’s childhood diet has transgenerational repercussions.
agouti mice Epigenetic Inheritance the scientist
Classic Mechanism of Epigenetic Inheritance Is Rare, Not the Rule
Ashley Yeager | Mar 1, 2019
A study suggests that the direct transfer of DNA methylation marks from one generation to the next is much less common than scientists previously thought.
Nicotine’s Effects Passed On Through Generations of Mice
Kerry Grens | Oct 16, 2018
Male rodents exposed to nicotine had changes in sperm genome methylation and produced pups and grandpups with abnormal behavior.
In Their Earliest Days, Embryos Record Their Environments
Kerry Grens | Oct 1, 2018
Methylation patterns at so-called metastable epialleles in the genome stamp a memory into each of our cells.
As Bees Specialize, So Does Their DNA Packaging
Shawna Williams | Sep 11, 2018
A study of chemical tags on histone proteins hints at how the same genome can yield very different animals.
Antidepressant Exerts Epigenetic Changes
Anna Azvolinsky | Nov 25, 2015
Molecular markers could aid researchers’ assessment of patient response to the drug.
 
Opinion: Engineering the Epigenome
Anna Köferle, Stefan H. Stricker, Stephan Beck | Aug 26, 2015
The use of targetable chromatin modifiers has ushered in a new era of functional epigenomics.
Epigenetic Changes Can Cause Cancer
Ashley P. Taylor | Jul 25, 2014
A transgene designed to attract methylation to the promoter of a tumor-suppressor gene leads to tumorigenesis in a mouse model. 
Controlling Bee Fate
Ed Yong | Sep 16, 2012
Reversible marks on the genome allow honeybees to swap between lives as nurses and foragers.