Understanding the origins of normal and pathological behavior is one of the most exciting opportunities in contemporary biomedical research. There is increasing evidence that, in addition to DNA sequence and the environment, epigenetic modifications of DNA and histone proteins may contribute to complex phenotypes. Inherited and/or acquired epigenetic factors are partially stable and have regulatory roles in numerous genomic activities, thus making epigenetics a promising research path in etiological studies of psychiatric disease. In this article, we review recent epigenetic studies examining the brain and other tissues, including those from individuals with schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BPD). We also highlight heuristic aspects of the epigenetic theory of psychiatric disease and discuss the future directions of psychiatric epigenetics.
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