Background: Despite our increasing recognition of the mechanisms that specify and propagate epigenetic states of gene expression, the pattern of how epigenetic modifications contribute to the overall genetic variation of a phenotypic trait remains largely elusive.Results: We construct a quantitative model to explore the effect of epigenetic modifications that occur at specific rates on the genome. This model, derived from, but beyond, the traditional quantitative genetic theory that is founded on Mendel's laws, allows questions concerning the prevalence and importance of epigenetic variation to be incorporated and addressed.Conclusions: It provides a new avenue for bringing chromatin inheritance into the realm of complex traits, facilitating our understanding of the means by which phenotypic variation is generated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Applied Mathematics