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Paediatrician’s guide to epigenetics
  1. Lauren Byrne1,
  2. Amanda Jane Drake1,2
  1. 1 University/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 Department of Paediatric Endocrinology, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amanda Jane Drake, University/British Heart Foundation Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, The Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK; mandy.drake{at}ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is critical for normal development. Dysregulation of the epigenome can lead to the development and progression of a number of diseases relevant to paediatricians, including disorders of genomic imprinting and malignancies. It has long been recognised that early life events have implications for future disease risk, and epigenetic modifications may play a role in this, although further high-quality research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms. Research in the field of epigenetics will contribute to a greater understanding of growth, development and disease; however, paediatricians need to be able to interpret such research critically, in order to use the potential advances brought about through epigenetic studies while appreciating their limitations.

  • epigenetic
  • dna methylation
  • histone
  • genomic imprinting
  • developmental origins of health and disease

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Footnotes

  • Contributors Both authors contributed to drafts of the manuscript, edited it and agreed the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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