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Research projects

Transgenerational Effects of Pollutants

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Steffen Keiter

Research subject

Research environments

Life of an organism dependents on its genetic predisposition and the environment, but also on the interaction of those two. During last decades it was shown that the environment can have a substantial impact on heredity of an organism without changing the genetic information. This “on top of genetics” or “epigenetic heredity” was shown to be influenced by many factors ranging from diet to exposure of toxic chemicals. Epigenetic modifications generally comprise the replacement of histones by specialised histone variants, modifications of histones, noncoding RNAs, transcription factor regulatory networks, and covalent modifications of DNA bases such as methylation and acetylation.

Epigenetic effects of persistent organic pollutants (POP) are remaining largely unstudied and unknown, and at present they are not considered in any risk assessment framework. We believe that investigating these transgenerational effects may open a new page that will increase our understanding of how environmental pollutants have an impact on epigenetic changes over several generations. Therefore, the investigation of epigenetic pathways can potentially lead to the discovery of novel molecular markers that can be used in risk assessment. Moreover, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of transgenerational effects caused by POPs will provide additional important information for a more comprehensive risk assessment.


Research groups

Research funding bodies

  • The Swedish Research Council Formas
  • Örebro University