The rapidly shifting field of epigenetics has expanded scientific understanding of how environmental conditions affect gene expression and development. This article focuses on two ongoing clinical trials-one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom-that have used epigenetics as the conceptual basis for testing the relationship between nutrition and obesity during pregnancy. Drawing on ethnographic research, I highlight the different ways that clinical scientists interpret epigenetics to target particular domains of the environment for prenatal intervention. Here I examine three environmental domains: the pregnant body, the home, and everyday experiences. In so doing, I show how different scientific approaches to epigenetics multiply concepts of "the environment," while also individualizing responsibility onto pregnant bodies. Ultimately, I argue that how the environment is conceptualized in epigenetics is both a scientific and a political project that opens up questions of reproductive responsibility.
Keywords: clinical trials; environments; epigenetics; prenatal interventions.
© 2018 by the American Anthropological Association.