Deakin University

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Epigenetics and DOHaD: how translation to predictive testing will require a better public understanding

journal contribution
posted on 2021-10-18, 00:00 authored by Fiona Lynch, Sharon Lewis, Ivan Macciocca, Jeffrey M Craig
t Epigenetics is likely to play a role in the mediation of the effects of genes and environment in risk for many non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) theory presents unique opportunities regarding the possibility of early life interventions to alter the epigenetic makeup of an individual, thereby modifying their risk for a variety of NCDs. While it is important to determine how we can lower the risk of these NCDs, it is equally important to understand how the public’s knowledge and opinion of DOHaD and epigenetic concepts may influence their willingness to undertake such interventions for themselves and their children. In this review, we provide an overview of epigenetics, DOHaD, NCDs, and the links between them. We explore the issues surrounding using epigenetics to identify those at increased risk of NCDs, including the concept of predictive testing of children. We also outline what is currently understood about the public’s understanding and opinion of epigenetics, DOHaD, and their relation to NCDs. In doing so, we demonstrate that it is essential that future research explores the public’s awareness and understanding of epigenetics and epigenetic concepts. This will provide much-needed information which will prepare health professionals for the introduction of epigenetic testing into future healthcare.



Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease


1 - 7


Cambridge University Press (CUP)


Cambridge, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal