EpiGenie recently reviewed the text Epigenetics by Jorg Tost. Here is a more in depth summary of one the chapters provided courtesy of JA Gill who is molecular biologist at NOAA in the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, to give you a little sneak peek into what the whole book is all about:
The Dynamic Epigenome: by Ionel Sandovici, Noel H. Smith, Susan E. Ozanne, and Miguel Constância
From maternal methyl supplements affecting an offspring’s epigenetic variation to age-associated gene expression, in their chapter The Dynamic Epigenome: The Impact of the Environment on Epigenetic Regulation of Gene Expression and Developmental Programming, Sandovici et al., set out to highlight “the increasing evidence of the large range of environmental influences on epigenetic programming.”
The authors divide the chapter into subheadings: an introduction; molecular aspects of epigenetics; a larger section on environmental factors including nutrition, pathogens, and maternal care; a wide-ranging overview of current research; and what to anticipate at the hereditary, phenotypic and genetic level from environmentally induced epigenetic changes. Throughout, the chapter emphasizes, both explicitly and by way of example, the biomedical and human health perspective of gene/environemntal (GxE) interactions.
One of the most interesting sections is a discussion on epigenetics and phenotypic variation. Here, the authors summarize one of the largest human epigenetic studies to date, involving DNA methylation and histone acetylation comparisons in 40 monozygotic (MZ) twins, across various tissues. The authors of the study found remarkable variation among twins in regards to these two epigenetic markers with the larger differences, predictably, in older twins and those with non-shared environments—a strong suggestion for direct environment to epigenome influence.
Along with the extensive citations, the most useful section in this chapter is a table of environmental influences leading to known changes to the epigenome. These resources would be helpful to any research entrepreneur interested in epigenetics, from cancer to ecology, who should consider perusing this table for ideas.
You can find and purchase full copies of the Epigenetics at the Horizon Press website.