Child development might be conceptualized as experiences becoming sculpted in the organism's DNA through methylation, one of the major epigenetic mechanisms of change. This article introduces some of the basic biological mechanisms of methylation, discusses research on animal models, and highlights some of the most impressive methylation studies on human development. Although assessment of methylation levels still is under debate, saliva-derived methylation might tremendously enhance the opportunities for noninvasive epigenetic studies on child development. It seems worthwhile to add methylation to the G×E equation to fully appreciate the effects of the environment on child and adult functioning.
- Child development