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Genes (Basel). 2019 Jan 15;10(1). pii: E47. doi: 10.3390/genes10010047.

Animal Models and Their Contribution to Our Understanding of the Relationship Between Environments, Epigenetic Modifications, and Behavior.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Delaware, 108 Wolf Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA. nphillips@psych.udel.edu.
2
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Delaware, 108 Wolf Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA. troth@psych.udel.edu.

Abstract

The use of non-human animals in research is a longstanding practice to help us understand and improve human biology and health. Animal models allow researchers, for example, to carefully manipulate environmental factors in order to understand how they contribute to development, behavior, and health. In the field of behavioral epigenetics such approaches have contributed novel findings of how the environment physically interacts with our genes, leading to changes in behavior and health. This review highlights some of this research, focused on prenatal immune challenges, environmental toxicants, diet, and early-life stress. In conjunction, we also discuss why animal models were integral to these discoveries and the translational relevance of these discoveries.

KEYWORDS:

animal models; behavior; disease; environments; epigenetics

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