Article ID: CBB395512753

Epigenetics: Ambiguities and Implications (2016)


Everyone has heard of ‘epigenetics’, but the term means different things to different researchers. Four important contemporary meanings are outlined in this paper. Epigenetics in its various senses has implications for development, heredity, and evolution, and also for medicine. Concerning development, it cements the vision of a reactive genome strongly coupled to its environment. Concerning heredity, both narrowly epigenetic and broader ‘exogenetic’ systems of inheritance play important roles in the construction of phenotypes. A thoroughly epigenetic model of development and evolution was Waddington’s aim when he introduced the term ‘epigenetics’ in the 1940s, but it has taken the modern development of molecular epigenetics to realize this aim. In the final sections of the paper we briefly outline some further implications of epigenetics for medicine and for the nature/nurture debate.

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Authors & Contributors
Baedke, Jan
Paternain Suberviola, José Luis
Montero i Simó, Miguel Ángel
Romeu Figuerola, Antoni
Cabré Bargalló, Maria
Gliboff, Sander Joel
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Actes d’Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica
Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
Oxford University Press
Harvard University Press
University of Pittsburgh Press
Duke University Press
Philosophy of biology
Waddington, Conrad Hal
Kammerer, Paul
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, early
Vienna (Austria)
Latin America

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