The epigenome serves as an interface between the dynamic environment and the inherited static genome. Epigenetic aberrations have similar consequences to genetic polymorphisms, resulting in variations in gene function. Recent data suggest that the epigenome is dynamic and is therefore responsive to environmental signals not only during the critical periods in development but also later in life. Exposures to different environmental agents, not only nutrients and chemicals, but also social behavior such as maternal care, can lead to interindividual phenotypic diversity as well as differential susceptibility to disease.
This workshop, organized by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), will focus on the epigenetic control of key homeostatic regulations, such as energy homeostasis, in response to a variety of environmental signals: inflammation, aging, circadian rhythms, nutrition, intrauterine environment, and sexual dimorphism. Speakers will present what is known about the epigenetic components of the transcriptional regulatory circuitry, and will elaborate on the role of epigenetic control in development, as well as on the contribution of epigenetic dysregulations in the etiology of complex diseases such as the metabolic syndrome. Plenary talks and a poster session will provide a forum for interactions among basic scientists, and also clinical researchers interested in the epigenetic origin of disease.
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