Epigenetics, the study of functionally relevant chemical modifications to DNA that do not involve a change in the DNA nucleotide sequence, is at the interface between research and clinical medicine. Research on epigenetic marks, which regulate gene expression independently of the underlying genetic code, has dramatically changed our understanding of the interplay between genes and the environment. This interplay alters human biology and developmental trajectories, and can lead to programmed human disease years after the environmental exposure. In addition, epigenetic marks are potentially heritable. In this article, we discuss the underlying concepts of epigenetics and address its current and potential applicability for primary care providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S216-S223
Issue numberSUPPL.3
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • DNA methylation epigenetics
  • Histone modification
  • Imprinting
  • Noncoding RNA
  • Pediatrics
  • Primary care


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