Geneticists used to believe that only mutations to the actual DNA letter code (A,C,T,G) were relevant to traits, diseases and evolution passing through to future generations. More recently it has become apparent that the regulation of genes (how active a gene is) can also potentially be passed to offspring. These heritable changes that are not due to actually changing the DNA code, but rather are due to changing the regulation of that code are referred to as epigenetics. It seems that our life experiences can, in some ways, be passed on to our offspring and even to their offspring. Could what your grandmother ate when she was a teenager affect your health today? The answers are starting to surprise us!
- The Week Magazine: How Our Experiences Affect Our Offspring - read this article from The Week Magazine to get an overview of epigenetics and some of the amazing findings researchers have uncovered.
- Learn.Genetics Epigenetics - read more about epigenetics and see how it affects plants, rats and people.
- Genomic Imprinting - read these two pages on genomic imprinting, which combines the idea of epigenetics and inheriting certain traits from only your mother or only your father. Learn.Genetics Imprinting and NIH Genomic Imprinting
- Research Articles - read these article for more fascinating research findings about epigenetics
- Pregnancy Stress Spans Generations
- Epigenetic Effects of Mom's Diet
- Gestational Malnutrition Affects Offspring's Sperm
- Sperm Can Carry Dad's Stress as Well as Genes
- Culturing Changes Cells - this article points out a potentially serious issue with in vitro studies that has heretofore not really been discussed.