Using epigenomics to understand cellular responses to environmental influences in diseases

Julia J. Wattacheril, Srilakshmi Raj, David A. Knowles, John M. Greally

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


AItUis :aPgleeanseercaollnyfiarmcctheapttaeldlhmeaoddinegl ltehvaetlseanrverireopnrmeseenntteadlcinofrlrueecntlcye: s can exert their effects, at least in part, by changing the molecular regulators of transcription that are described as epigenetic. As there is biochemical evidence that some epigenetic regulators of transcription can maintain their states long term and through cell division, an epigenetic model encompasses the idea of maintenance of the effect of an exposure long after it is no longer present. The evidence supporting this model is mostly from the observation of alterations of molecular regulators of transcription following exposures. With the understanding that the interpretation of these associations is more complex than originally recognised, this model may be oversimplistic; therefore, adopting novel perspectives and experimental approaches when examining how environmental exposures are linked to phenotypes may prove worthwhile. In this review, we have chosen to use the example of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a common, complex human disease with strong environmental and genetic influences. We describe how epigenomic approaches combined with emerging functional genetic and single- cell genomic techniques are poised to generate new insights into the pathogenesis of environmentally influenced human disease phenotypes exemplified by NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1010567
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 19 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Cancer Research


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