Epigenetics in the Extreme: Prions and the Inheritance of Environmentally Acquired Traits

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 629-632
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191081

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Prions are an unusual form of epigenetics: Their stable inheritance and complex phenotypes come about through protein folding rather than nucleic acid–associated changes. With intimate ties to protein homeostasis and a remarkable sensitivity to stress, prions are a robust mechanism that links environmental extremes with the acquisition and inheritance of new traits.

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