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Review

Transgenerational Inheritance of Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Alterations during Mammalian Development

1
Univ Rennes, Inserm, EHESP, Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail)—UMR_S 1085, F-35000 Rennes, France
2
University of Florida, Department of Physiological Sciences Box 100144, 1333 Center Drive, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors equally contributed to this work.
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1559; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121559
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 29 November 2019 / Accepted: 2 December 2019 / Published: 3 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Epigenetic Mechanisms and Signatures)
Genetic studies traditionally focus on DNA as the molecule that passes information on from parents to their offspring. Changes in the DNA code alter heritable information and can more or less severely affect the progeny’s phenotype. While the idea that information can be inherited between generations independently of the DNA’s nucleotide sequence is not new, the outcome of recent studies provides a mechanistic foundation for the concept. In this review, we attempt to summarize our current knowledge about the transgenerational inheritance of environmentally induced epigenetic changes. We focus primarily on studies using mice but refer to other species to illustrate salient points. Some studies support the notion that there is a somatic component within the phenomenon of epigenetic inheritance. However, here, we will mostly focus on gamete-based processes and the primary molecular mechanisms that are thought to contribute to epigenetic inheritance: DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs. Most of the rodent studies published in the literature suggest that transgenerational epigenetic inheritance through gametes can be modulated by environmental factors. Modification and redistribution of chromatin proteins in gametes is one of the major routes for transmitting epigenetic information from parents to the offspring. Our recent studies provide additional specific cues for this concept and help better understand environmental exposure influences fitness and fidelity in the germline. In summary, environmental cues can induce parental alterations and affect the phenotypes of offspring through gametic epigenetic inheritance. Consequently, epigenetic factors and their heritability should be considered during disease risk assessment. View Full-Text
Keywords: transgenerational inheritance; epigenetics; environmental factors; genome reprograming; histone modifications transgenerational inheritance; epigenetics; environmental factors; genome reprograming; histone modifications
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MDPI and ACS Style

Legoff, L.; D’Cruz, S.C.; Tevosian, S.; Primig, M.; Smagulova, F. Transgenerational Inheritance of Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Alterations during Mammalian Development. Cells 2019, 8, 1559. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121559

AMA Style

Legoff L, D’Cruz SC, Tevosian S, Primig M, Smagulova F. Transgenerational Inheritance of Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Alterations during Mammalian Development. Cells. 2019; 8(12):1559. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121559

Chicago/Turabian Style

Legoff, Louis, Shereen C. D’Cruz, Sergei Tevosian, Michael Primig, and Fatima Smagulova. 2019. "Transgenerational Inheritance of Environmentally Induced Epigenetic Alterations during Mammalian Development" Cells 8, no. 12: 1559. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8121559

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