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Environmental Epigenomics in Health and Disease

22 July 2013: Springer has recently published two books on environmental epigenomics that are edited by Randy L. Jirtle and Frederick L. Tyson -- Epigenetics and Disease Origins and Epigenetics and Complex Diseases. The overall purpose of these books is to give readers an overview of how environmental exposures can influence the risk of disease in adulthood by disrupting epigenetic processes and reprogramming during early development. Leading investigators in the field of epigenetics discuss patterns of epigenomic modifications in normal cells, and how environmentally-induced changes in them are associated with disease pathogenesis. The authors comprehensively review epigenetic processes that occur in human embryonic stem cells, as well as in differentiating cells and organs such as the brain, and discuss autism, schizophrenia, and sexual dimorphism in the developing brains of males and females. Legal and ethical implications of such epigenetic alterations are also assessed. These books represent our attempt to bring the field of environmental epigenomics to a rapidly growing audience.