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Explaining inter-individual variability in phenotype: is epigenetics up to the challenge?

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Epigenetics
1559-2308
Publisher
Landes Bioscience
Publication Date
Volume
5
Issue
1
Pages
16–19
Identifiers
PMID: 20083905
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The hypothesis that environmental factors alter somatically heritable epigenetic marks and change long-term patterns of gene expression is an exciting possibility in human disease research. Because most common diseases, and many quantitative traits, are influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, environmentally induced changes in epigenetic structures can provide a mechanistic link between genes and environment. We believe that inter-individual differences in the epigenetic modification of genes will explain a much greater fraction of inter-individual phenotypic variation than differences in genotype, alone.

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