Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance

Front Cover
W. W. Norton, Jun 13, 2011 - Science - 234 pages

Time to worry again—our lifestyle choices do impact our genetic code and that of our children (and even grandchildren!).

"The potential is staggering. . . . The age of epigenetics has arrived."—Time, January 2010

Epigenetic means "on the gene," and the term refers to the recent discovery that stress in the environment can impact an individual's physiology so deeply that those biological scars are actually inherited by the next several generations. For instance, a recent study has shown that men who started smoking before puberty caused their sons to have significantly higher rates of obesity. And obesity is just the tip of the iceberg—many researchers believe that epigenetics holds the key to understanding cancer, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, and diabetes.

Epigenetics is the first book for general readers on this fascinating and important topic. The book is driven by stories such as the Dutch famine of World War II, Josť Canseco and steroids, the breeding of mules and hinnies, Tazmanian devils and contagious cancer, and more.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Richard C. Francis is a freelance writer with a PhD in neurobiology and behavior from Stony Brook University. He is the author of Why Men Won’t Ask for Directions. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Bibliographic information