Epigenetic Mechanisms Underlie Genome Development (Commentary on: Lux 2013)
Ehud Lamm, Epigenetic Mechanisms Underlie Genome Development (Commentary on: Lux 2013). In International Journal of Developmental Science, 2013 [PDF ]
Commentary On: Lux 2013, With Gottlieb Beyond Gottlieb: The Role of Epigenetics in Psychobiological Development.
Technological and methodological advances, in particular next-generation sequencing and chromatin profiling, has led to a deluge of data on epigenetic mechanisms and processes. Epigenetic regulation in the brain is no exception. Extending our existing frameworks for thinking about psychobiological development to include molecular epigenetic mechanisms is a worthy and timely goal. This is what Vanessa Lux (2013) attempts in her article.
Lux suggests a useful heuristic classification of the functions played by epigenetic mechanisms in psychobiological development in the brain and justifiably highlights their role as mediators between levels, emphasizing the role of feedback loops in development. Like Gilbert Gottlieb and Conrad Waddington before him, however, she takes genes for granted. As an idealization the proposal makes a lot of sense. Ultimately, a developmental picture of the genome will be needed, one in which epigenetic mechanisms will play a significant role. In such a framework it is unlikely that their genomic functions could be divorced from their developmental function.