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Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, may occur in response to environmental cues to alter the functional expression of genes in a permanent and potentially intergenerationally transmissible manner. As such, they may explain interindividual variation as well as the long-lasting effects of trauma exposure.
While there are currently no findings indicating epigenetic changes specific to PTSD or PTSD risk, many recent observations are compatible with epigenetic explanations. These include recent findings on stress-related gene expression, contributions of uterine biology to infant biology, the association of PTSD risk with maternal PTSD, and the importance of childhood adversity in the development of PTSD.
Front Cell Dev Biol.: Epigenetics across the human lifespan
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