Epigenetics – which encompasses physiological alterations affecting how and if genes are expressed – is a hot topic in the world of biology. It has been gaining interest for quite some time due to advances in techniques allowing scientists to probe more deeply into the mechanisms that decide which particular genes are expressed, and how these processes work. Our increasing understanding of these processes has uncovered many examples where epigenetic markers are passed on through not just one, but several generations. The evolutionary explanation for this phenomenon was addressed in an article published last week in Proceedings B entitled ‘When is incomplete epigenetic resetting in germ cells favoured by natural selection?’
I met with the lead author, Tobias Uller, at the University of Oxford to find out more about how this model for incomplete epigenetic resetting works, and how it can be used to identify situations which may select for incomplete epigenetic resetting.
This paper has been made free to read for the rest of the month and you can download it in full here: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1811/20150682.