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The social brain meets the reactive genome: neuroscience, epigenetics and the new social biology

Meloni, Maurizio 2014, The social brain meets the reactive genome: neuroscience, epigenetics and the new social biology, Frontiers in human neuroscience, vol. 8, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00309.

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Title The social brain meets the reactive genome: neuroscience, epigenetics and the new social biology
Author(s) Meloni, MaurizioORCID iD for Meloni, Maurizio orcid.org/0000-0003-2570-3872
Journal name Frontiers in human neuroscience
Volume number 8
Article ID 309
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher Frontiers Media
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publication date 2014-05-21
ISSN 1662-5161
Keyword(s) epigenetics
Meaney
methylation
neuroepigenetics
postgenomics
plasticity
social neuroscience
Summary The rise of molecular epigenetics over the last few years promises to bring the discourse about the sociality and susceptibility to environmental influences of the brain to an entirely new level. Epigenetics deals with molecular mechanisms such as gene expression, which may embed in the organism “memories” of social experiences and environmental exposures. These changes in gene expression may be transmitted across generations without changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetics is the most advanced example of the new postgenomic and context-dependent view of the gene that is making its way into contemporary biology. In my article I will use the current emergence of epigenetics and its link with neuroscience research as an example of the new, and in a way unprecedented, sociality of contemporary biology. After a review of the most important developments of epigenetic research, and some of its links with neuroscience, in the second part I reflect on the novel challenges that epigenetics presents for the social sciences for a re-conceptualization of the link between the biological and the social in a postgenomic age. Although epigenetics remains a contested, hyped, and often uncritical terrain, I claim that especially when conceptualized in broader non-genecentric frameworks, it has a genuine potential to reformulate the ossified biology/society debate.
Language eng
DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00309
Field of Research 160806 Social Theory
160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
220206 History and Philosophy of Science (incl Non-Historical Philosophy of Science)
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Meloni
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30107805

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.