There is a large body of evidence indicating that early life exposures can lead to disease outcomes later in life. The effects of these exposures are thought to be limited to the exposed generation, such that subsequent generations are unaffected by the exposure history of their parents and grandparents. However, recent reports have suggested that this may not be the case, and that adverse outcomes may be carried over to multiple unexposed generations. This phenomenon is known as “transgenerational inheritance.” If the effects of exposure can indeed be transmitted to subsequent generations, this would have major public health implications. It is critical to determine how widespread and robust this phenomenon is, the factors that influence it, the mechanism by which it occurs, and the range of possible phenotypic outcomes (NIEHS 2012). To assist with this effort the DNTP Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) is initiating one or more evaluations using systematic review methodology to examine the state of the science for transgenerational inheritance of health effects associated with exposure to a wide range of stressors (e.g., environmental chemicals, drugs of abuse, nutrition and diet, pharmaceuticals, infectious agents, or stress).
The specific scope of the evaluation will be refined following exploratory screening and consideration of responses to this request for information (RFI). A document outlining the proposed approach to conduct the exploratory screening of the literature is available, “Evaluation of the State of the Science for Transgenerational Inheritance of Health Effects” and should be referenced in responding to the RFI. OHAT requests information on the proposed approach for exploratory screening and the identification of scientists with knowledge or expertise relevant to this topic. Specifically, this information will help to (1) refine the proposed literature search strategy and criteria used to conduct the exploratory screening; (2) identify potential areas of focus for the systematic review(s); (3) identify unpublished, ongoing, or planned studies related to transgenerational inheritance; and (4) identify scientists with expertise or knowledge relative to this topic.
Responses are requested from all interested parties, such as the research community, health professionals, educators, policy makers, industry, and the public. Responses to this RFI are voluntary. OHAT does not intend to publish a summary of responses received or any other information provided, except very broad characterizations. Despite this, proprietary, classified, or confidential information should not be included in the response. This RFI is for planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the U.S. Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the U.S. Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information.
Future updates on this project, will be posted on the State of the Science Evaluation for Transgenerational Inheritance of Health Effects page. Individuals interested in receiving updates on this project are encouraged to register to the NTP Listserv.
Response Date: June 28, 2013
Please direct all inquiries to:
Vickie R. Walker
Office of Health Assessment and Translation
Division of the National Toxicology Program
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
111 TW Alexander Dr., PO Box 12233
MD: K2-04, Durham, NC 27709
Phone: (919) 541-4514
Fax: (301) 480-3337