The study of epigenetics in psychiatry promises several key advances, as noted by Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D., a Deputy Editor for Biological Psychiatry and an expert in this field.

First, it enables, for the first time, direct study of mechanisms controlling transcription, the process of expressing the genetic information coded within DNA, in the brains of behaving animals as well as in brain tissue from humans studied at autopsy.

Second, some epigenetic changes in the brain are likely to be extremely long-lived, and thereby represent potential mechanisms by which life events, or psychotropic drugs or even psychotherapy, can produce stable, long-lasting changes in behavior.

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