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Disease Markers
Volume 23, Issue 1-2, Pages 121-137

Epigenetics—DNA-Based Mirror of our Environment?

Craig A. Cooney

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA

Received 18 January 2007; Accepted 18 January 2007

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epigenetics affects health, appearance and behavior and propagates mammalian phenotypes across generations. Nutrients, drugs and behavior can all direct changes in epigenetics. In at least some cases, these directed changes are propagated across generations. This range of influences on epigenetics suggests that epigenetics is highly interactive with the environment. Changes in the environment may regularly change epigenetics and influence our future responses to the environment. The current research challenge is to understand these influences and use them to direct epigenetics toward improved health and longevity.