Inherited epigenetic variation--revisiting soft inheritance

Nat Rev Genet. 2006 May;7(5):395-401. doi: 10.1038/nrg1834.


Phenotypic variation is traditionally parsed into components that are directed by genetic and environmental variation. The line between these two components is blurred by inherited epigenetic variation, which is potentially sensitive to environmental inputs. Chromatin and DNA methylation-based mechanisms mediate a semi-independent epigenetic inheritance system at the interface between genetic control and the environment. Should the existence of inherited epigenetic variation alter our thinking about evolutionary change?

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns* / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phenotype