Epigenetics and periconception environment
The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is the oldest and widest European intergovernmental network for cooperation in research. Established by the Ministerial Conference in November 1971, COST is presently used by more than 30.000 scientists of 35 European countries to cooperate in common research projects supported by national funds. The financial support for cooperation networks (COST Actions) provided by COST is about 1.5% (30 million EUR per year) of the total value of the projects (2000 million EUR per year). […] As precursor of advanced multidisciplinary research COST has a very important role in shaping the European Research Area (ERA). It anticipates and complements the activities of the current Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020). COST activities create a bridge between the scientific communities of countries and increases the mobility of researchers across Europe in many key scientific domains. Parental stress before, during and after conception induces epigenetic changes in gametes and embryos. Such epigenetic changes may adversely affect the future health, development, productivity and fertility of the offsprings. Our cooperation in this COST Action focuses on the timeframes and mechanisms of these epigenetic modifications. We plan public engagement activities to inform the general public on the importance of the epigenome and the periconception environment in future food production, health and welfare. We aim to coordinate various European research activities on epigenetic control of development in order to avoid duplication, set targets and guidance for future research in this field through a large collaborative network.