Over the past decade, the field of molecular biology has rapidly incorporated epigenetic studies to evaluate organism–environment interactions that can result in chronic effects. Such responses arise from early life stage stress, the utilization of genetic information over an individual's life time, and transgenerational inheritance. Knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms provides the potential for a comprehensive evaluation of multigenerational and heritable effects from environmental stressors, such as contaminants. Focused studies have provided a greater understanding of how many responses to environmental stressors are driven by epigenetic modifiers. We discuss the promise of epigenetics and suggest future research directions within the field of aquatic toxicology, with a particular focus on the potential for identifying key heritable marks with consequential impacts at the organism and population levels. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:2565–2573.
- Aquatic toxicology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis