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(p. 193) Stress, Development, and Epigenetics 

(p. 193) Stress, Development, and Epigenetics
Chapter:
(p. 193) Stress, Development, and Epigenetics
Author(s):

Richard McCarty

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190697266.003.0007
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date: 25 May 2020

For more than 50 years, there has been an interest in the nongenetic transmission of information from parents to their offspring, especially as it relates to the impact of maternal behavior on the development of offspring. One such mechanism to explain this mode of inheritance is through epigenetic alterations in DNA or histone proteins, but without changes in the sequence of DNA base pairs. Another mechanism that alters extranuclear gene expression involves synthesis of non-coding miRNAs. Paternal influences on fetal development may be mediated by signaling molecules contained within microvesicles in semen. Other experiments have focused on the placenta as a partial barrier to elevations in adrenal steroids and other stress-sensitive molecules in blood. These mechanisms also explain in part how experiences of mothers and fathers prior to mating can be conveyed to their offspring and even succeeding generations.

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