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Genetics of Psychological Well-BeingThe role of heritability and genetics in positive psychology$
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Michael Pluess

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686674

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686674.001.0001

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The genetic and epigenetic essentials of modern humans

The genetic and epigenetic essentials of modern humans

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter 2 The genetic and epigenetic essentials of modern humans
Source:
Genetics of Psychological Well-Being
Author(s):

Robert A. Philibert

Steven R. H. Beach

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686674.003.0002

Over the past two decades, our ability to quantify genetic and epigenetic contributions to human behavior has increased by several orders of magnitude. Although therapeutic manipulation of genetic and epigenetic factors remains largely beyond our grasp, by better specifying these contributions we can more precisely delineate environmental and gene–environment interplay effects—both of which offer malleable points of therapeutic intervention. To achieve a better understanding of genetic and epigenetic factors, this chapter reviews human genetic structure and genetic variation, including single nucleotide, simple repeat, and copy number polymorphisms, as well as the factors involved in epigenetic regulation, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and quaternary structure. It then discusses how genetic and epigenetic factors interact to influence transcription and to maintain genomic tone, and concludes by outlining the fundamental mechanisms through which environmental factors can interact with genetic diversity (i.e., gene–environment interaction) to produce behavioral variation at the cellular and organismic levels.

Keywords:   genetics, epigenetics, polymorphisms, DNA methylation, histone modification, gene–environment interaction

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