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Brain, Behavior and Epigenetics

Arturas Petronis

Published by Springer-Verlag Gmbh Mai 2011, 2011
ISBN 10: 3642174256 / ISBN 13: 9783642174254
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Title: Brain, Behavior and Epigenetics

Publisher: Springer-Verlag Gmbh Mai 2011

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Buch

Book Condition: Neu


Neuware - Epigenetic processes can explain some of the epidemiological associations between environmental exposure and disease, particularly when the exposure occurs at a critical delopmental stage.Epigenetics, a cellular mechanism once considered to be stable after development, has now been found to be a dynamic process that occurs in fully differentiated, post-mitotic cells of central nervous system in response to environmental signals. Epigenetic mechanisms regulate the structure of the chromatin through post-translational modifications of histone proteins and covalent DNA modifications. Though the mechanisms through which these effects are achieved likely involve diverse cellular and molecular pathways, there is emerging evidence supporting the hypothesis that epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, may mediate the effects of early-life variations in the social interactions between mothers and infants. 317 pp. Englisch. Bookseller Inventory # 9783642174254

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Synopsis: Biomedical research in the first decade of the 21st century has been marked by a rapidly growing interest in epigenetics. The reasons for this are numerous, but primarily it stems from the mounting realization that research programs focused solely on DNA sequence variation, despite their breadth and depth, are unlikely to address all fundamental aspects of human biology. Some questions are evident even to non-biologists. How does a single zygote develop into a complex multicellular organism composed of dozens of different tissues and hundreds of cell types, all genetically identical but performing very different functions? Why do monozygotic twins, despite their stunning external similarities, often exhibit significant differences in personality and predisposition to disease? If environmental factors are solely the cause of such variation, why are similar differences also observed between genetically identical animals housed in a uniform environment? Over the last couple of decades, epigenetics has undergone a significant metamorphosis from an abstract developmental theory to a very dynamic and rapidly developing branch of molecular biology. This volume represents a compilation of our current understanding about the key aspects of epigenetic processes in the brain and their role in behavior. The chapters in this book bring together some of the leading researchers in the field of behavioral epigenetics. They explore many of the epigenetic processes which operate or may be operating to mediate neurobiological functions in the brain and describe how perturbations to these systems may play a key role in mediating behavior and the origin of brain diseases.

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Despite significant progress in molecular epigenetic research and its enormous potential, there are still considerable challenges to overcome before we can fully understand the role of epigenetic processes in brain function and behavior. For instance, what comprises a ?normal? brain epigenome and what is the degree of region- and cellular-specificity of epigenetic landscapes in the brain? How do the multiple layers of epigenetic information interact and change over time? How common is meiotic epigenetic heritability and what role it may play in complex psychiatric disease? To what extent is the epigenome plastic and malleable in response to environmental influences? This volume demonstrates that such questions can now be explored in an experimental molecular biology laboratory. While the community is only just starting to acknowledge the importance of epigenetic processes in the brain, there is no doubt that numerous breakthrough discoveries in brain and behavioral epigenetics will be made in the decades to come.

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