Ask the Expert


Randy Jirtle is director of the Laboratory of Epigenetics and Imprinting at Duke University and is a professor of radiation oncology at the school's medical center. His groundbreaking research with agouti mice has revealed that a mother's diet during pregnancy can influence gene expression in her offspring by altering the epigenome. Since obtaining his M.S. (1973) and Ph.D. (1976) in radiation biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jirtle has published over 150 scholarly articles and registered three patents. He currently serves on the editorial boards of three scientific journals and manages the epigenetics Web site,, which focuses on the quest to understand how environmental factors can affect human disease.

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