The pre- and peri-conceptional periods (before and just after fertilization, until the blastocyst stage) are critical in the context of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Maternal in vivo environment, in particular nutrition, can disturb the apposition of epigenetic marks throughout gametogenesis, fertilization and the first steps of embryonic development, which are times during which major epigenetic changes take place. The in vitro environment, in the case of assisted reproduction techniques, also affects epigenetic marks. Whilst the embryo is a target of these changes, female and male gametes are both target and vector of these epigenetic changes, thus leading to multigenerational effects. Long term consequences on the phenotype of offspring vary according to the sex of the vector parent, the sex of the individual and the generation.
© 2016 médecine/sciences – Inserm.