Epigenetics is considered by many to be the "new genetics" because the realization that many biological phenomena are controlled not through gene mutations, but rather through reversible and heritable epigenetic processes that have opened up new paths for discovery. The biological processes impacted by epigenetics range from tissue/organ regeneration, X-chromosome inactivation, and stem cell differentiation to genomic imprinting and aging. The effects of epigenetics are vast and encompass lower organisms as well as humans. Aberrations of epigenetics influence many diseases involving but not limited to cancer, immune disorders, neurological and metabolic disorders, and imprinting diseases. Clinical intervention is already in place for some of these disorders and many novel epigenetic therapies are on the horizon.

This comprehensive collection of reviews written by leaders in the field of epigenetics provides a broad view of this important and evolving topic. From molecular mechanisms and epigenetic technology to discoveries in human disease and clinical epigenetics the nature and applications of the science will be presented for those with interests ranging from the fundamental basis of epigenetics to therapeutic interventions for epigenetic-based disorders.

Table of Contents

1. Epigenetics: The New Science of Genetics

SECTION I: Molecular Mechanisms of Epigenetics

2. Mechanisms of DNA Methylation, Methy-CpG Recognition, and Demethylation in Mammals

3. Mechanisms of Histone Modifications

SECTION II: Additional Epigenetic Processes

4. The Epigenetics of Non-coding RNA

5. Prions and Prion-like Phenomena in Epigenetic Inheritance

6. Chromosomal Position Effects and Gene Variegation: Impact in Pathologies

7. Polycomb Mechanisms and Epigenetic Control of Gene Activity

SECTION III: Epigenetic Technology

8. Analysis of Gene-specific DNA Methylation

9. Methods for Assessing Genome-wide DNA Methylation

10. Methylation of Lysine-9 of Histone H3: Role in Heterochromatin Modulation and Tumorigenesis

11. Chromatin Modifications Distinguish Genomic Features and Physical Organization of the Nucleus

12. Assessing Epigenetic Information

SECTION IV: Model Organisms of Epigenetics

13. Epigenetics of Eukaryotic Microbes

14. Drosophila Epigenetics

15. Mouse Models of Epigenetic Inheritance

16. Epigenetic Regulatory Mechanisms in Plants

SECTION V: Metabolism and Epigenetics
17. Metabolic Regulation of DNA Methylation in Mammals

18. Dietary and Metabolic Compounds Affecting Chromatin Dynamics/Remodeling 

SECTION VI: Functions of Epigenetics

19. Epigenetics, Stem Cells and Cellular Differentiation

20. Epigenetic Basis of Skeletal Muscle Regeneration

21. Epigenetics of X Chromosome Inactivation

22. Genomic Imprinting

23. Epigenetics of Memory Processes

24. Transgenerational Epigenetics

25. Aging Epigenetics

SECTION VII: Evolutionary Epigenetics
26. Epigenetics in Adaptive Evolution and Development

SECTION VIII: Epigenetic Epidemiology

27. The Effects of Diet on E


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Academic Press
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About the editor

Trygve Tollefsbol

Professor of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. Dr. Tollefsbol is a Professor of Biology and a Senior Scientist in the Center for Aging, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Nutrition Obesity Research Center, and the Comprehensive Diabetes Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He is Director of the UAB Cell Senescence Culture Facility which he established in 1999 and a Steering Committee Member of the UAB Center for Aging. Dr. Tollefsbol trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Research Professor with members of the National Academy of Science at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. He earned doctorates in molecular biology and osteopathic medicine from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center and his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Houston. He has received prior funding from the NIA, NCI, NHLBI, NIMH and other federal institutes as well as the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) among many other sources. The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research funding was unsolicited and was awarded to Dr. Tollefsbol for lifetime contributions to the field of aging. In 2006 Dr. Tollefsbol was selected and highlighted as part of the 25th anniversary of the AFAR for significant contributions to aging research. Dr. Tollefsbol’s research interests have covered a wide range of topics such as aging, epigenetics, nutrition, cancer, telomerase, and caloric restriction. Work from his laboratory has been featured in Women’s Health magazine, Shape magazine, and the AICR Newsletter and Dr. Tollefsbol has been a Scientist in the Spotlight in ScienceNow. Currently he serves as an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Epigenomics and is on the Editorial Boards of the international journals Open Longevity Science, Epigenetics of Diabetes and Obesity, Molecular Biot

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA


"The Handbook of Epigenetics contains an impressive collection of 37 articles, mainly dealing with the biology of epigenetics. Covered topics range from molecular marks and mechanism, over model systems, epidemiology, aging and the brain to diseases…. In summary, the Handbook of Epigenetics provides a unique and useful combination of information and it is a valuable addition to the bookshelf of scientists with experience in the field."--CHEMBIOCHEM