Advances in epigenetics link genetics to the environment and disease

Nature. 2019 Jul;571(7766):489-499. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1411-0. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


Epigenetic research has accelerated rapidly in the twenty-first century, generating justified excitement and hope, but also a degree of hype. Here we review how the field has evolved over the last few decades and reflect on some of the recent advances that are changing our understanding of biology. We discuss the interplay between epigenetics and DNA sequence variation as well as the implications of epigenetics for cellular memory and plasticity. We consider the effects of the environment and both intergenerational and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance on biology, disease and evolution. Finally, we present some new frontiers in epigenetics with implications for human health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation / genetics
  • Disease / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Epigenomics / trends*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics


  • Chromatin