Epigenetics studies things that happen outside our DNA genetic material and are inherited. Excerpt from the book:
“Alcoholism is heritable. Actually, that doesn’t make any sense: Why would nature have built an alcoholism gene into our genetic material? Of course it didn’t. Nevertheless, alcoholism is passed on genetically in the family. But how? It is not so long ago that cutting-edge research finally found the answer: The hereditary quirk is not encoded in our actual genetic material (the DNA), but one level higher, so to speak. That is why this research discipline is also called epigenetics.
The weaving error lies in a protein ball around which our genetic material wraps itself. This so-called histone is responsible for what actually emerges from the genetic information in the end. Figuratively speaking: DNA, the genetic material, is the recipe book. The histone is the cook. While the recipe book (the DNA) is virtually set in stone, the cook can sometimes make mistakes.
The histone protein cluster is sensitive to environmental influences and can be damaged. Then problems arise. Damage to the histone determines whether someone gets diabetes or cancer – or whether, for example, the metabolism of some brain messengers does not function properly. The trouble is that our DNA and the histone bundle are inherited as a package. So damage to the histone is also passed on to the next generation, just like the genetic material itself.”
You can find the full text in the book “Bye bye, booze!“