Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of parent-of-origin allelic transmission of outcross pathology and sperm epimutations

Dev Biol. 2020 Feb 1;458(1):106-119. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2019.10.030. Epub 2019 Nov 1.


Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance potentially impacts disease etiology, phenotypic variation, and evolution. An increasing number of environmental factors from nutrition to toxicants have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease. Previous observations have demonstrated that the agricultural fungicide vinclozolin and pesticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) induce transgenerational sperm epimutations involving DNA methylation, ncRNA, and histone modifications or retention. These two environmental toxicants were used to investigate the impacts of parent-of-origin outcross on the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease. Male and female rats were collected from a paternal outcross (POC) or a maternal outcross (MOC) F4 generation control and exposure lineages for pathology and epigenetic analysis. This model allows the parental allelic transmission of disease and epimutations to be investigated. There was increased pathology incidence in the MOC F4 generation male prostate, kidney, obesity, and multiple diseases through a maternal allelic transmission. The POC F4 generation female offspring had increased pathology incidence for kidney, obesity and multiple types of diseases through the paternal allelic transmission. Some disease such as testis or ovarian pathology appear to be transmitted through the combined actions of both male and female alleles. Analysis of the F4 generation sperm epigenomes identified differential DNA methylated regions (DMRs) in a genome-wide analysis. Observations demonstrate that DDT and vinclozolin have the potential to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease and sperm epimutations to the outcross F4 generation in a sex specific and exposure specific manner. The parent-of-origin allelic transmission observed appears similar to the process involved with imprinted-like genes.

Keywords: Allelic transmission; DDT; DNA methylation; Disease; Epigenetic inheritance; Transgenerational; Vinclozolin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DDT / toxicity*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fungicides, Industrial / toxicity*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / genetics*
  • Genital Diseases, Male / pathology
  • Genomic Imprinting / genetics*
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Histone Code
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / genetics*
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / pathology
  • Male
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Oxazoles / toxicity*
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spermatozoa / chemistry*


  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Oxazoles
  • Pesticides
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • DDT
  • vinclozolin