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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887

Abstract

BEDREGAL, PAULA; SHAND, BEATRIZ; SANTOS, MANUEL J  and  VENTURA-JUNCA, PATRICIO. Contribution of epigenetics to understand human development. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2010, vol.138, n.3, pp.366-372. ISSN 0034-9887.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0034-98872010000300018.

Epigenetics refers to the study of how genes produce their effect on the phenotype of the organism. This article is a review on the scope and importance of recently discovered epigenetic mechanisms on human development and their relationship to perinatal epidemiological issues. It shows a general view and present concepts about epigenetics and its contribution to the comprehension of several physiologic and pathological conditions of human beings. Secondly, it analyzes the evidence coming from epidemiological and animal studies, about the influence of events that occur in the perinatal and early postnatal periods on adult life and the possible epigenetic mechanisms involved. Lastly, it underscores the implications ofthese results of future research and the design of public policies that take into account the importance of events in early life in thefuture development of individuals.

Keywords : Epigenesis, genetic; Human development; Phenotype.

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