FA COST Action FA1201
Epigenetics and Periconception Environment - Periconception environment as an epigenomic lever for optimising food production and health in livestock
Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.
Parental stress before, during and after conception (i.e. the periconception period) induces epigenetic changes in gametes and embryos. Such epigenetic changes may adversely affect the future health, development, productivity and fertility of those offspring. While there is increasing evidence for this in agricultural species, most of this knowledge derives from epidemiological studies in humans and controlled studies in laboratory animals. In this COST Action, time frames and mechanisms during which the gametes and early embryo are susceptible to epigenetic modifications will be determined in livestock in order to optimize their health and productivity. This COST Action will identify stressors and molecules which induce, modulate or remove epigenetic marks on genes that are relevant for different applications in farm animals. Public engagement activities are planned during the COST Action to inform the general public on the importance of the epigenome via the periconception environment in future food production, health and welfare. Research on epigenetic control of development is being performed by different groups in the EU, but efforts need to be coordinated in order to avoid duplication, set targets and guidance for future research and to standardise protocols in this field through a large collaborative EU network. These goals can only be achieved under a COST programme.