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Epigenetic variation: amount, causes, and consequences

Part 1. Genetics

1.3. Epigenetics

Specialist Review

  1. Elena de la Casa-Esperón1,
  2. Carmen Sapienza2

Published Online: 15 DEC 2006

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g103227

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

de la Casa-Esperón, E. and Sapienza, C. 2006. Epigenetic variation: amount, causes, and consequences. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 1:1.3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, US

  2. 2

    Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2006

Abstract

Epigenetic variation is the result of biochemical and spatial modifications that affect the function of chromosomes. The diversity of phenotypes that we observe in all organisms is the result of both genetic and epigenetic variation. Unveiling the “epigenetic code” is challenging because of the diversity of mechanisms and the vast scale of epigenetic variation. Nevertheless, an increasing number of studies indicate that epigenetic variation has an important influence on many phenotypes, especially in human disorders.

Keywords:

  • epigenetic variation;
  • DNA methylation;
  • phenotypic variation;
  • X-chromosome inactivation;
  • mosaicism;
  • allelic variation in gene expression;
  • epigenetic inheritance;
  • epialleles;
  • chromatin modifications