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Epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression that do not involve modifications in DNA sequence and can be heritable through cell division. Such mechanisms are highly conserved among eukaryotes and can range from post-translational modifications in DNA or RNA, to changes in the 3D structure of chromatin (DNA associated to proteins known as histones). Epigenetic changes in gene expression can occur throughout cell differentiation and maturation, as well as in response to environmental stimuli. In humans, deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms has been associated to a variety of cancers and autoimmune diseases, thus playing a key role in development.
This collection showcases recent work on Epigenetics published at Scientific Reports, highlighting the diversity of mechanisms involved, as well as its multiple functions throughout eukaryotic organisms.