Understanding transgenerational epigenetic inheritance via the gametes in mammals

  title={Understanding transgenerational epigenetic inheritance via the gametes in mammals},
  author={Lucia Daxinger and Emma Whitelaw},
  journal={Nature Reviews Genetics},
It is known that information that is not contained in the DNA sequence — epigenetic information — can be inherited from the parent to the offspring. However, many questions remain unanswered regarding the extent and mechanisms of such inheritance. In this Review, we consider the evidence for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance via the gametes, including cases of environmentally induced epigenetic changes. The molecular basis of this inheritance remains unclear, but recent evidence points… 
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: from phenomena to molecular mechanisms
Intergenerational Transfer of Epigenetic Information in Sperm.
  • O. Rando
  • Biology
    Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine
  • 2016
The evidence for epigenetic information carriers in mammalian sperm is reviewed, the emerging field of intergenerational transfer of environmental information is explored, and the role of mitochondria in epigenetic inheritance is explored.
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: adaptation through the germline epigenome?
This review discusses current evidence for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, confounding issues associated with its study, and the biological relevance of altered epigenetic states for subsequent generations.
Transgenerational inheritance: how impacts to the epigenetic and genetic information of parents affect offspring health.
Strong evidence is found supporting the role of DNA methylation patterns, histone modifications and even non-protein-coding RNA in altering the epigenetic composition of individuals and producing stable epigenetic effects that were transmitted from parents to offspring, in both humans and rodent species.
Epigenetic germline inheritance in mammals: looking to the past to understand the future
This review focuses specifically on sperm RNAs as causal vectors of inheritance, and examines how they might become altered in the germline, and how different classes of spermRNAs might interact with other epimodifications in germ cells or in the zygote.
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance: how important is it?
Five leading researchers working on a range of model organisms and in human disease are asked for their views on transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and the wide gulf between species in terms of the authors' knowledge of the mechanisms that may be involved.


Transgenerational epigenetic effects.
Transgenerational epigenetic effects include all processes that have evolved to achieve the nongenetic determination of phenotype and isomers, who refer to it as non-Mendelian inheritance.
Modifiers of epigenetic reprogramming show paternal effects in the mouse
Paternal effects of this type have not been reported previously in mammals and suggest that the untransmitted genotype of male parents can influence the phenotype of their offspring.
Epigenetic inheritance in the mouse
Transgenerational inheritance of epigenetic states at the murine AxinFu allele occurs after maternal and paternal transmission
It is found that the methylation state of AxinFu in mature sperm reflects the methylated state of the allele in the somatic tissue of the animal, suggesting that it does not undergo epigenetic reprogramming during gametogenesis, and it is shown that epigenetic inheritance is influenced by strain background.
Erasure of MLH1 methylation in spermatozoa—implications for epigenetic inheritance
It is shown that MLH1 epimutations are unlikely to be caused by a fully penetrant genetic alteration in cis7, the possibility that genetic interplay between a cisor trans-acting modifier and the gametes may be reestablished postzygotically, albeit associated with a single parental allele and present in all somatic cell types.
Dynamic Reprogramming of DNA Methylation at an Epigenetically Sensitive Allele in Mice
The DNA methylation in mature gametes, zygotes, and blastocysts is analysed and it is found that the paternally and maternally inherited alleles are treated differently, in a manner similar to that of nonimprinted single-copy genes.
An Epigenetic Role for Maternally Inherited piRNAs in Transposon Silencing
In both P- and I-element–mediated hybrid dysgenesis models, daughters show a markedly different content of Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) targeting each element, depending on their parents of origin, indicating that maternally deposited piRNAs are important for mounting an effective silencing response and that a lack of maternal piRNA inheritance underlies hybrid Dysgenesis.
Reactivation of heritably silenced gene expression in mice
The germline inheritance of transcriptional silencing in mice and reversion to activity after as many as three generations in the silent state supports the notion that silent genetic information in mammals can be inherited and later reactivated and implies a mode of phenotypic inheritance that is less stable than Mendelian inheritance.
Epigenetics and phenotypic variation in mammals
Epigenetic phenomena associated with phenotypic variation at the biochemical, cellular, tissue, and organism level are now well recognized and are likely to contribute to the “intangible variation” alluded to.