Inheritance and Transmission of Epigenetic Memory Across Generations
New research has been suggesting that parents can transmit changes to their gene expression to their children. The heritable changes occur as a result of environmental stresses and are known as epigenetic modifications. A previous article covered the epigenetic transfer of nutrition “memory” across several generations. Now, a recent study by researchers from the University of California in Santa Cruz, demonstrates the transferring of epigenetic memory across generations as well as from one cell to another during early development.
The new study, published in Science, looked at a well-studied, common epigenetic modification – histonemethylation. They focused on histone H3, a protein involved in DNA packaging. Specifically, the researchers investigated the methylation of histone H3 on Lys27 (H3K27me) by Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2). This has previously been shown to repress or turn off genes. This particular epigenetic mark is widespread and can be found in every multicellular animal – from the small roundworm investigated in the current study, C. elegans, to humans.
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