A 2018 online book “Neuroepigenetics and Mental Illness” was published at https://www.sciencedirect.com/bookseries/progress-in-molecular-biology-and-translational-science/vol/158/suppl/C (not freely available). Three chapters are reviewed here, with an emphasis on human studies:
- “Chapter Five: Neuroepigenetics of Prenatal Psychological Stress” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877117318300747 (not freely available)
- “Chapter Eleven: Using Epigenetic Tools to Investigate Antidepressant Response” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877117318300711 (not freely available)
- “Chapter Twelve: Transgenerational Epigenetics of Traumatic Stress” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187711731830053X (not freely available)
Actually, I won’t waste my time or your time with what I planned to do. The lack of scientific integrity and ethics displayed by the book’s publisher, editor, and contributors in the below chapter spoke volumes.
How can the information in any other chapter of this book be trusted?
“Chapter Twelve: Transgenerational Epigenetics of Traumatic Stress”
This chapter continued propagating a transgenerational meme that had more to do with extending paradigms than science. The meme is that there are adequately evidenced transgenerational epigenetic inheritance human results.
As I most recently noted in Epigenetic variations in metabolism, there aren’t any published human studies that provide incontrovertible evidence from the F0 great-grandparents, F1 grandparents, F2 parents, and F3 children to confirm definitive transgenerational epigenetic inheritance causes and effects. Researchers urgently need to do this human research, and stop pretending that it’s already been done.
How did the book’s editor overlook what this chapter admitted?
“Literature about the inheritance of the effects of traumatic stress in humans has slowly accumulated in the past decade. However, it remains thin and studies in humans also generally lack clear “cause and effect” association, mechanistic explanations or germline assessment.”
Were the publisher and editor determined to keep the chapter heading and the reviewers determined to add another entry to their CVs in the face of this weasel-wording?
“In conclusion, although less studied from a mechanistic point of view, inter- and possibly transgenerational inheritance of the effects of traumatic stress is supported by empirical evidence in humans.”
See the comments below for one example of the poor substitutes for evidence that propagators of the transgenerational meme use to pronounce human transgenerational epigenetic inheritance a fait accompli. Researchers supporting the meme and its funding pipeline know that not only this one example, but also ALL human transgenerational epigenetic inheritance studies:
“Lack clear “cause and effect” association, mechanistic explanations or germline assessment.”
Lack of scientific integrity is one reason why such human research hasn’t been undertaken with the urgency it deserves. Propagating this meme is unethical, and adversely affects anyone who values evidence-based research.