Epigenetics, evolution, endocrine disruption, health, and disease

Endocrinology. 2006 Jun;147(6 Suppl):S4-10. doi: 10.1210/en.2005-1122. Epub 2006 May 11.


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the environment have been linked to human health and disease. This is particularly evident in compounds that mimic the effects of estrogens. Exposure to EDCs early in life can increase risk levels of compromised physical and mental health. Epigenetic mechanisms have been implicated in this process. Transgenerational consequences of EDC exposure is also discussed in both a proximate (mechanism) and ultimate (evolution) context as well as recent work suggesting how such transmission might become incorporated into the genome and subject to selection. We suggest a perspective for exploring and ultimately coming to understand diseases that may have environmental or endocrine origins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Disease / etiology
  • Endocrine Disruptors* / toxicity
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects


  • Endocrine Disruptors