An article published in the Proceedings of the (US) National Academy of Sciences adds to mounting evidence that experiences of ancestors are a factor influencing your life through epigenetics.
Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses
Ancestral environmental exposures have previously been shown to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and inﬂuence all aspects of an individual’s life history. In addition, proximate life events such as chronic stress have documented effects on the development of physiological, neural, and behavioral phenotypes in adulthood. We used a systems biology approach to investigate in male rats the interaction of the ancestral modiﬁcations carried transgenerationally in the germ line and the proximate modiﬁcations involving chronic restraint stress during adolescence. We ﬁnd that a single exposure to a common-use fungicide (vinclozolin) three generations removed alters the physiology, behavior, metabolic activity, and transcriptome in discrete brain nuclei in descendant males, causing them to respond differently to chronic restraint stress. This alteration of baseline brain development promotes a change in neural genomic activity that correlates with changes in physiology and behavior, revealing the interaction of genetics, environment, and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance in the shaping of the adult phenotype. This is an important demonstration in an animal that ancestral exposure to an environmental compound modiﬁes how descendants of these progenitor individuals perceive and respond to a stress challenge experienced during their own life history.
Monday, 18 June 2012
at 12:36 a.m.