Ugeskr Læger 2016;178:V02160132
Epigenetic influence on embryonic development
The epigenome is sensitive to environmental changes and can sustainably alter gene expression, notably during embryonic development. New research indicates that epigenetic factors are heritable, which is why paternal lifestyle may affect fetal development and risk of disease. Children conceived by assisted reproduction technology (ART) have an increased risk of peri- and postnatal complications, and as specific ART protocols associate with specific risk profiles, the procedures themselves may cause epigenetic changes contributing to the altered outcomes of the 5,000 Danish children annually conceived by ART.