This article aims to promote an open-minded and interdisciplinary dialogue between the public discourse on epigenetics and the current scientific state of the art. It raises three main questions: Are there any specific modes of circulation of epigenetics in the general public? Why does epigenetics seem so appealing to the public? Within the public repertoire of epigenetics, is it possible to identify some specific knowledge claims and, if so, given the current state of the ar
The Weismann barrier is not as impervious as previously thought—this is what epidemiological and animal studies in epigenetics suggest. What does it mean for ethics? Does inter- and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, if it is definitively demonstrated in humans, create an epigenetic responsibility towards future generations? The question of potential long-term responsibilities disrupts our traditional ethics frameworks that deals with the consequences of our actions in
Epigenetics has sometimes been described as a “buzzword” or a “fashion.” A quick look on the web suggests that epigenetics is, indeed, very popular. What uses does the public make of epigenetics? Are these uses true to the science or are they complete science-fiction? These are the questions that we tackle in this shared project between US and French scientists. The project has two sides of resource-building and analysis. We built a 5-years database of media entries referr
What constitutes “human reproduction” is under negotiation as its biology, social nature, and cultural valences are increasingly perceived as bound up in environmental issues. This paper maps the growing overlap between formerly rather separate domains of reproductive politics and environmental politics, examining three interrelated areas. The first is the emergence of an intersectional environmental reproductive justice framework in activism and environmental health science.
How organisms retain a memory of ancestral environmental exposure is a phenomenon that is still poorly understood. Recently published work by our group and others, regarding environmentally induced transgenerational effects, have identified an array of mechanisms, with a particular focus on histone modifications, that shed some light on the underlying epigenetic processes driving long-term generational effects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6233965/ #Research
In this new study, Camacho and colleagues reveal that exposure to the plastic chemical Bisphenol A causes a transgenerational impact on fertility that lasts for 5 generations. The authors also dissect the epigenetic machinery behind this effect and were able to reverse the inheritance of the effect. The work can be found in Cell Reports here: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/abstract/S2211-1247(18)30637-5 #News #Research
Bruce Blumberg and colleagues describe how exposure to the obesogen tributyltin (TBT), an antifouling agent added to paint, alters the way mice metabolize their diet. This effect is detectable in the 3rd and 4th generations following the initial exposure and correlates with epigenetic changes. Despite its ban, and due to its persistent nature , TBT is still widely found in the environment. Some countries also have not consistently enforced the ban. The present research is th
A paper recently published in Current Biology examines how some mobile element in the genomes of animals have the ability to mimic components of germ cells in order to become transmitted across generations. Read the paper here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982217310746?via%3Dihub #Research