A compelling review of epigenetic transgenerational inheritance

This 2020 review by coauthors of 2019’s A transgenerational view of the rise in obesity and Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance extends to the great-great-grand offspring summarized:

“The prevalence of obesity and associated diseases has reached pandemic levels.

Ancestral and direct exposures to environmental toxicants and altered nutrition have been shown to increase susceptibility for obesity and metabolic dysregulation. Environmental insults can reprogram the epigenome of the germline (sperm and eggs), which transmits the susceptibility for disease to future generations through epigenetic transgenerational inheritance.

During the 1950s, the entire North American population was exposed to high levels of the pesticide DDT, when the obesity rate was < 5% of the population. Three generations later, the obesity frequency in North America is now ~45% of the population.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043276020300515 “Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity Susceptibility” (not freely available)


Do any of us have accurate and complete medical histories of our parents back to our great-great-grandparents? Did any of our ancestors record their exposures to environmental toxicants?

The research community has been conditioned to not trust research done primarily from one source. Dr. Michael Skinner’s labs at Washington State University are suspect by this preconception.

A researcher there addressed the situation when I asked. Their answer in A self-referencing study of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance ended with:

“We hope to see other labs contributing to this particular field and we will be delighted to cite them. In the meantime, our only option is to reference our previous work.”

It’s especially time for toxicologists to overcome their behavioral conditioning. If they don’t understand how epigenetic transgenerational inheritance impacts their field now, will they ever get a clue?

Our ancestors’ experiences have much to do with our physiologies. The biological evidence is compelling, yet it continues to be ignored and misconstrued.

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