Knowledge and Resource Hub
01 July 2019

What is epigenetics and how does it relate to child development?

This factsheet from Harvard University explains epigenetics and how this relates to the impact of early life experiences on lifelong development. Epigenetics is an emerging area of scientific research that shows how children’s experiences (environmental influences) actually affect the expression of their genes. Experiences very early in life, which is when the brain is developing most rapidly, cause epigenetic adaptations that influence whether, when, and how genes release their instructions for building future capacity for health, skills, and resilience. Therefore it is crucial to provide supportive and nurturing experiences for young children in the earliest years.