Environmental Epigenetics

Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes not encoded by DNA sequences. These heritable changes are mediated through other factors such as DNA methylation or histone modifications. Epigenetic effects are generally described as interactions between the environment and the genome and can persist for many generations, long after the initial exposure. Epigenetic factors are known to play a role in many human diseases such as cancer and obesity. By using ecotoxicological model organisms such as Daphnia, GhEnToxLab studies the epigenetic effects of environmental changes, including chemical pollutants, across multiple generations. Such studies will improve our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms and how they interact with environmental pollutants to result in potential adverse effects for the exposed organism. 

Current researchers
Jana Asselman

Past researchers
Dieter De Coninck, Michiel Vandegehuchte

PhD theses
Vandegehuchte, Michiel. (2010). Epigenetics and transgenerational effects of toxic stress in the water flea Daphnia magna. Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.

Recent publications
Asselman, J. et al. (2016). Gene body methylation patterns in Daphnia are associated with gene family size. GENOME BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION8(4), 1185–1196.

Asselman, J. et al. (2015). Global cytosine methylation in Daphnia magna depends on genotype, environment and their interaction. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY34(5), 1056–1061.

Vandegehuchte, M. et al. (2014). Epigenetics in an ecotoxicological context. MUTATION RESEARCH-GENETIC TOXICOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MUTAGENESIS764-765, 36–45.

How to live in a mosaic of stressors – an ecological genomics approach on the water flea Daphnia (STRESSFLEA)

Hoe leven in een mozaïek van stressoren - een ecologische genomica benadering bij de watervlo Daphnia (STRESSFLEA-B) – no reference to website