Epigenetic Inheritance of Disease and Disease Risk  external link
Epigenetic marks in an organism can be altered by environmental factors throughout life. Although changes in the epigenetic code can be positive, some are associated with severe diseases, in particular, cancer and neuropsychiatric disorders. Recent evidence has indicated that certain epigenetic marks can be inherited, and reshape developmental and cellular features over generations. This review examines the challenging possibility that epigenetic changes induced by environmental factors can contribute to some of the inheritance of disease and disease risk. This concept has immense implications for the understanding of biological functions and disease etiology, and provides potential novel strategies for diagnosis and treatment. Examples of epigenetic inheritance relevant to human disease, such as the detrimental effects of traumatic stress or drug/toxic exposure on brain functions, are reviewed. Different possible routes of transmission of epigenetic information involving the germline or germline-independent transfer are discussed, and different mechanisms for the maintenance and transmission of epigenetic information like chromatin remodeling and small noncoding RNAs are considered. Future research directions and remaining major challenges in this field are also outlined. Finally, the adaptive value of epigenetic inheritance, and the cost and benefit of allowing acquired epigenetic marks to persist across generations is critically evaluated.

Johannes Bohacek & Isabelle M Mansuy
Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews volume 38
Published: July 11, 2012

The Epigenome Learns From Its Experience  external link
Epigenetic tags act as a kind of cellular memory. A cell's epigenetic profile -- a collection of tags that tell genes whether to be on or off -- is the sum of the signals it has received during its lifetime.

University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center

Potential of Environmental Enrichment to Prevent Transgenerational Effects of Paternal Trauma  external link
Adverse experiences in early life are risk factors for the development of behavioral and physiological symptoms that can lead to psychiatric and cognitive disorders later in life. Some of these symptoms can be transmitted to the offspring, in some cases by non-genomic mechanisms involving germ cells. Using a mouse model of unpredictable maternal separation and maternal stress, we show that postnatal trauma alters coping behaviors in adverse conditions in exposed males when adult and in their adult male progeny. The behavioral changes are accompanied by increased glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression and decreased DNA methylation of the GR promoter in the hippocampus. DNA methylation is also decreased in sperm cells of exposed males when adult. Transgenerational transmission of behavioral symptoms is prevented by paternal environmental enrichment, an effect associated with the reversal of alterations in GR gene expression and DNA methylation in the hippocampus of the male offspring. These findings highlight the influence of both negative and positive environmental factors on behavior across generations and the plasticity of the epigenome across life.

Katharina Gapp, Johannes Bohacek, Jonas Grossmann, Andrea M Brunner, Francesca Manuella, Paolo Nanni & Isabelle M Mansuy
Neuropsychopharmacology Reviews, Volume 41
Published: June 9, 2016

Traces of Genetic Trauma Can Be Tweaked - Podcast  external link
Trauma can be passed down to offspring due to epigenetic changes in DNA. But positive experiences seem able to correct that.

Erika Beras
Scientific American
Published: April 15, 2017

Epigenetics  external link
As an organism grows and develops, carefully orchestrated chemical reactions activate and deactivate parts of the genome at strategic times and in specific locations. Epigenetics is the study of these chemical reactions and the factors that influence them.

University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center

Is my family history holding me back?  external link
Managing money has never been my strong point but I want to start planning for the future and save a nest egg. I just need to gain control over my finances first. The problem is that while I’m a sensible person and organised with work and friends, I’m prone to ignoring my incomings and outgoings. As a result at the end of the month I never have anything left in my account.

Linda Harrison
Published: September 4, 2012

Childhood trauma can be inherited by future generations - new study  external link
Childhood trauma alters genes and can be passed onto future generations, new research has found. A study examining the offspring of children displaced during the Second World War revealed they were up to four times more likely to suffer from serious mental health conditions compared to those whose parents stayed at home.

Henry Bodkin
Published: November 29, 2017

Intergenerational transmission of paternal trauma among US Civil War ex-POWs  external link
Understanding whether paternal trauma is transmitted to children to affect their longevity, the mechanisms behind any transmission, and the reversibility of paternal trauma can inform health interventions and increase our understanding of the persistence of health within families. We show that severe paternal hardship as a prisoner of war (POW) led to high mortality among sons, but not daughters, born after the war who survived to the age of 45 but that adequate maternal nutrition countered the effect of paternal POW trauma in a manner most consistent with epigenetic explanations. We are not aware of any large sample studies in human populations that examine the reversibility of paternal trauma nor the long-term impact of paternal ex-POW status on children.

Dora L. Costa, Noelle Yetter, and Heather DeSomer
Published: October 30, 2018

Exposure to childhood abuse is associated with human sperm DNA methylation  external link
Children who are abused can be left with physical, "molecular scars" on their DNA that last well into adulthood, according to a new study from Harvard University and the University of British Columbia.

Offspring of persons exposed to childhood abuse are at higher risk of neurodevelopmental and physical health disparities across the life course. Animal experiments have indicated that paternal environmental stressors can affect sperm DNA methylation and gene expression in an offspring. Childhood abuse has been associated with epigenetic marks in human blood, saliva, and brain tissue, with statistically significant methylation differences ranging widely. However, no studies have examined the association of childhood abuse with DNA methylation in gametes. We examined the association of childhood abuse with DNA methylation in human sperm. Combined physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in childhood was characterized as none, medium, or high. DNA methylation was assayed in 46 sperm samples from 34 men in a longitudinal non-clinical cohort using HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. We performed principal component analysis and examined the correlation of principal components with abuse exposure. Childhood abuse was associated with a component that captured 6.2% of total variance in DNA methylation (p?

Andrea L. Roberts, Nicole Gladish, Evan Gatev, Meaghan J. Jones, Ying Chen, Julia L. MacIsaac, Shelley S. Tworoger, S. Bryn Austin, Cigdem Tanrikut, Jorge E. Chavarro, Andrea A. Baccarelli & Michael S. Kobor
Translational Psychiatry, Volume 8, Article number: 194
Published: October 2, 2018

Alterations in sperm long RNA contribute to the epigenetic inheritance of the effects of postnatal trauma  external link
Psychiatric diseases have a strong heritable component known to not be restricted to DNA sequence-based genetic inheritance alone but to also involve epigenetic factors in germ cells. Initial evidence suggested that sperm RNA is causally linked to the transmission of symptoms induced by traumatic experiences. Here, we show that alterations in long RNA in sperm contribute to the inheritance of specific trauma symptoms. Injection of long RNA fraction from sperm of males exposed to postnatal trauma recapitulates the effects on food intake, glucose response to insulin and risk-taking in adulthood whereas the small RNA fraction alters body weight and behavioural despair. Alterations in long RNA are maintained after fertilization, suggesting a direct link between sperm and embryo RNA.

K. Gapp, G. van Steenwyk, P. L. Germain, W. Matsushima, K. L. M. Rudolph, F. Manuella, M. Roszkowski, G. Vernaz, T. Ghosh, P. Pelczar, I. M. Mansuy & E. A. Miska
Molecular Psychiatry
Published: October 30, 2018

How Toxic Personalities In Your Family Tree Can Affect Your Future Relationships  external link
It was previously believed that although we inherit our ancestors' genes, which are present at the time of their conception, their experiences do not affect us at a molecular level. However, epigenetic studies show that experiences alter our genes and their expression, and these changes are passed on. For instance, researchers have found that a mother's adverse experiences may lead to her child being less able to adapt to stress.

..."Traumas do not sleep, even with death, but rather continue to look for the fertile ground of resolution in the children of the following generations,"...

Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy
Published: October 14, 2018

Scarred For Life: The Epigenetics of Fear  external link
When someone is truly scared or traumatized, they might say they were “scarred for life”. While this might seem like a metaphor, recent studies show that fear might actually leave permanent epigenetic marks on your DNA, marks you could potentially pass down to your children or grandchildren.

Lisa Fox
Published: October 30, 2018

How Dad’s Stresses Get Passed Along to Offspring  external link
A stressed-out and traumatized father can leave scars in his children. New research suggests this happens because sperm “learn” paternal experiences via a mysterious mode of intercellular communication in which small blebs break off one cell and fuse with another.

Esther Landhuis
Scientific American
Published: November 8, 2018

Unlocking violent crime through epigenetics  external link
Violent people are often the product of violent surroundings. But genetics can play a role, too. Traumatic experience can be passed down from generation to generation — and manifest itself in violent outbreaks.

Julia Vergin
Published: October 18, 2018

Can a Parent’s Life Experience Change the Genes a Child Inherits?  external link
Inside the controversial world of epigenetics research

...The only link from the frightened fathers to their children and grandchildren was their sperm. Somehow, those cells had transmitted more than genes to their descendants. And somehow the animals passed down information not carried in their genes but gained through experience.

Carl Zimmer
The Atlantic
Published: June 21, 2018

How stress echoes down the generations  external link
The effects of child abuse can last a lifetime. Neglected or abused children have a higher risk of developing all sorts of ailments as adults, including mental illnesses such as depression but also physical ones like cancer and stroke. In fact, the effects may last even longer. Emerging evidence suggests that the consequences of mistreatment in childhood may persist down the generations, affecting a victim’s children or grand-children, even if they have experienced no abuse themselves.

The Economist
Published: May 24, 2018

Having the 'a-ha' moment with family constellation  external link
Family constellation is a new-age form of therapy quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Now widely available in Turkey, it delves into uncovering systemic dynamics that span generations in order to change hindering repetitive patterns

Leyla Yvonne Ergil
Daily Sabah
Published: January 29, 2016