Biological embedding of experience: A primer on epigenetics.

TitleBiological embedding of experience: A primer on epigenetics.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsAristizabal MJ, Anreiter I, Halldorsdottir T, Odgers CL, McDade TW, Goldenberg A, Mostafavi S, Kobor MS, Binder EB, Sokolowski MB, O'Donnell K
JournalProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Date Published2019 Oct 17

Biological embedding occurs when life experience alters biological processes to affect later life health and well-being. Although extensive correlative data exist supporting the notion that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation underlie biological embedding, causal data are lacking. We describe specific epigenetic mechanisms and their potential roles in the biological embedding of experience. We also consider the nuanced relationships between the genome, the epigenome, and gene expression. Our ability to connect biological embedding to the epigenetic landscape in its complexity is challenging and complicated by the influence of multiple factors. These include cell type, age, the timing of experience, sex, and DNA sequence. Recent advances in molecular profiling and epigenome editing, combined with the use of comparative animal and human longitudinal studies, should enable this field to transition from correlative to causal analyses.

Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PubMed ID31624126