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Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and social responsibility: perspectives from the social sciences

Meloni, Maurizio and Müller, Ruth 2018, Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and social responsibility: perspectives from the social sciences, Environmental epigenetics, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1093/eep/dvy019.

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Title Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance and social responsibility: perspectives from the social sciences
Author(s) Meloni, MaurizioORCID iD for Meloni, Maurizio orcid.org/0000-0003-2570-3872
Müller, Ruth
Journal name Environmental epigenetics
Volume number 4
Issue number 2
Article ID dvy019
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2018-04-01
ISSN 2058-5888
Keyword(s) transgenerational epigenetic inheritance
epigenetics of social adversity
social responsiblity
race
class
gender
Summary Research in environmental epigenetics explores how environmental exposures and life experiences such as food, toxins, stress or trauma can shape trajectories of human health and well-being in complex ways. This perspective resonates with social science expertise on the significant health impacts of unequal living conditions and the profound influence of social life on bodies in general. Environmental epigenetics could thus provide an important opportunity for moving beyond long-standing debates about nature versus nurture between the disciplines and think instead in 'biosocial' terms across the disciplines. Yet, beyond enthusiasm for such novel interdisciplinary opportunities, it is crucial to also reflect on the scientific, social and political challenges that a biosocial model of body, health and illness might entail. In this paper, we contribute historical and social science perspectives on the political opportunities and challenges afforded by a biosocial conception of the body. We will specifically focus on what it means if biosocial plasticity is not only perceived to characterize the life of individuals but also as possibly giving rise to semi-stable traits that can be passed on to future generations. That is, we will consider the historical, social and political valences of the scientific proposition of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. The key question that animates this article is if and how the notion of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance creates new forms of responsibilities both in science and in society. We propose that, ultimately, interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration is essential for responsible approaches to transgenerational epigenetic inheritance in science and society.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/eep/dvy019
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 ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution non-commercial licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30112549

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
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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.