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This article is part of the supplement: Beyond the Genome 2012

Open Access Oral presentation

The hunt for mammalian epialleles

Vardhman Rakyan

  • Correspondence: Vardhman Rakyan

Author Affiliations

Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK

BMC Proceedings 2012, 6(Suppl 6):O25  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-6-S6-O25

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:1 October 2012

© 2012 Rakyan; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Oral presentation

Epialleles are genomic loci at which the epigenetic state can stably vary amongst individuals of a given population. Although first described and still best understood in plants, in recent years we have come to realize that epigenomic landscapes in mammals can also show considerable inter-individual variation. Such mammalian epialleles could arise through genetic influences, or have non-genetic origins as a result of stochastic events, environmental factors such as exposure to a compromised in utero environment, or adult lifestyle-associated factors such as smoking. My lab is currently pursuing several complementary lines of investigation that integrate molecular genetics and epigenomics in mouse models and human cohorts to understand the role of epialleles in complex phenotypes and diseases. In my talk, I will present a synthesis of the latest findings from several ongoing studies in my lab on epiallelic variation in mammals.