The 21st century began with the finalization of the description of the structure of the human genome, ushering in a profound change in our understanding what makes us what we are. We now have unprecedented power to understand the mechanisms and impact of genetic activity and the factors that modulate and control its expression. We are in the process ofdeciphering how age, hormones and the environment all modify behavior.
This symposium was constructed to set out the most exciting and significant science in the new field of epigenetics which is concerned with the factors that collaborate to modify genetic activity and thus mold the phenotype.
Our expanding appreciation of the nature and complexity of epigenetics has produced a revolution in biomedical investigation and no less importantly, in how sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists among others consider the mechanisms of how experience changes behavior, susceptibility to disease and perhaps most importantly, how epigenetic modification
of genetic activity is transmitted to future generations. Hopefully, the symposium will amplify the collaboration between biomedical investigators
and social scientists by describing the final common pathway that explains how the environment modifies function.
Marianne J. Legato and Gillian Einstein
Presidents of the Meeting