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The field of epigenetics has come to the fore in recent years, making its mark in both basic research and also fields relevant to human disease, such as stem cells and cancer. “Epigenetics” has become synonymous with modifications to DNA and associated molecules that influence whether genes are on or off. But are these epigenetic modifications self-propagating and inherited like DNA, the physical manifestation of Mendel’s gene? Given the great interest in the topic and huge public and private investment made in epigenetics, Cell Press has decided to tackle this and other aspects of epigenetics in a multi-day meeting. In addition to fostering critical discussions on the proposed mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance and the challenges that lay ahead in understanding these mechanisms, the meeting will focus on more well established epigenetic mechanisms and how they are implemented in cell and developmental biology, particularly the maintenance of cell states, such as occurs during X-inactivation and polycomb-mediated gene silencing. The scope will be broad, giving the interested attendee a glimpse of epigenetics at both the molecular as well as the organism level.
As the field of epigenetics gains momentum, this is the perfect time to take a breather, stand back, and take a critical look at the claims, the issues to be addressed, and how we move ahead.
– Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance
– Inheritance of cellular states: x-inactivation, imprinting, and lambda phage
– Replication of chromatin
– RNA and epigenetic inheritance
– Mechanisms of polycomb-mediated gene silencing