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Welcome to the home page of the Wellcome Trust – Waddington Symposium Epigenetics in dialogue with THE GENOME

The epigenetics field encompasses diverse opinions – even the definition of the word is controversial. How much our own make-up is genetic and what proportion of it is epigenetically determined is also hotly debated. Moreover, the ability of apparent epigenetic phenotypes (epi-alleles) to be propagated through the germline to the next generation (transgenerational epigenetic inheritance) remains contentious. These conceptual arguments take place against a background of increasing research activity – epigenetics is one of the most active areas in biomedical research. Large-scale mapping projects, for example, provide increasingly detailed descriptions of the “epigenome”, raising as yet incompletely answered questions about the biological role of these chemical marks. Meanwhile there is growing interest in the therapeutic potential of “epigenetic drugs” that can modulate the epigenetic landscape. Genes encoding proteins that read, write or erase epigenetic marks are often mutated in cancer or in neurological disease. The purpose of this meeting is to provide a forum where the breadth of biological phenomena that impinge on epigenetics can be presented by leading international figures in epigenetics research. The selected speakers reflects our wish that alternative views will be aired and constructively discussed. Our intention is that this will be seen as a landmark meeting, contributing clarity to one of the most exciting areas of contemporary biomedical research.