Environmental epigenetic transgenerational inheritance and somatic epigenetic mitotic stability

Epigenetics. 2011 Jul;6(7):838-42. doi: 10.4161/epi.6.7.16537. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


The majority of environmental factors can not modify DNA sequence, but can influence the epigenome. The mitotic stability of the epigenome and ability of environmental epigenetics to influence phenotypic variation and disease, suggests environmental epigenetics will have a critical role in disease etiology and biological areas such as evolutionary biology. The current review presents the molecular basis of how environment can promote stable epigenomes and modified phenotypes, and distinguishes the difference between epigenetic transgenerational inheritance through the germ line versus somatic cell mitotic stability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Heredity / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / genetics*
  • Phenotype


  • Environmental Pollutants