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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 89-99

Environmentally induced paternal epigenetic inheritance and its effects on offspring health

1 State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA

Correspondence Address:
Qing-Yuan Sun
State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2096-2924.216862

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Increasing evidences indicate that chronic diseases in offspring may be the result of ancestral environmental exposures. Exposures to environmental compounds in windows of epigenetic susceptibility have been shown to promote epigenetic alterations that can be inherited between generations. DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding RNAs are sound mechanistic candidates for the delivery of environmental information from gametes to zygotes. This review focuses mainly on paternal exposures and assesses the risk of epigenetic alterations in the development of diseases, providing insights into relationships between aberrant sperm epigenetic patterns and offspring health. Elucidation of the mechanisms underlying environmental epigenetic information that survive from epigenetic reprogramming and its transmission to future generations may hold a great promise for providing therapeutic targets for epigenetic diseases associated with environmental exposures.

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