The concept of the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) alters our understanding of what constitutes "health" or "disease" intended as chronic, non-communicable diseases, which develop over the life course in high income and emerging countries. It implies a change in paradigm forming a basis for prevention policies across the globe. It also impacts psychological, social, economic, ethical and legal sciences. In line with the unanticipated underpinning epigenetic mechanisms are also the social issues (including public policies) that could be produced by the knowledge related to DOHaD that opens a wide field of inquiry. The information unveiled by epigenetics coupled with information on lifestyle including during the development phase, is of unforeseen nature, raising issues of different nature. Therefore it requires specific attention and research, and a specific support by a pluridisciplinary reflection since the very beginning of its production, to anticipate the questions that might be raised in the future.
© 2016 médecine/sciences – Inserm.