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I’m a little bit confused about DNA methlyation reprogramming and about the nature of an epigenetic phenomenon. According to Wikipedia:

After fertilization the paternal and maternal genomes are once again demethylated and remethylated (except for differentially methylated regions associated with imprinted genes). This reprogramming is likely required for totipotency of the newly formed embryo and erasure of acquired epigenetic changes.

I don't understand how something can be thought to be both heritable and erasable. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the poster has already answered the biological question by his own research, for which he is to be commended. He can find the origin of the term in a similar way, but that is not biology. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 31 '18 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @David Are you kidding? There is a terminology tag on this website. Maybe I should have use it, but I don't think my question deserves to be closed for that. $\endgroup$ – justdoit Jan 31 '18 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ The tags that people use do not define the purpose of this site or the acceptability of questions. This is explained in the Help on Asking questions. Questions on why something has such and such a name are generally of little interest to biology, except for its history, and, in any case you show no evidence of trying to find definitions yourself. A Google search for "Epigenetics Definition" includes a definition by Robin Holliday that might remove the unstated and erroneous assumption of your own on the meaning of the word. $\endgroup$ – David Jan 31 '18 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ @David - there is definitely important misunderstanding still present in the question that was not addressed by the OP, and it seems this is a misunderstanding you have as well. I see absolutely no reason to close this question, because even if its title seems to be about semantics an appropriate answer would not need to be. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 31 '18 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ @David The answer is because some portion of epigenetic changes are indeed heritable. How would you propose the questioner reframe their question to fit your narrow view of what makes a good question here? Their curiosity is clearly based on the biology of the situation. SE English language and usage is not for scientific terminology. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jan 31 '18 at 17:11
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I have done a presentation in epigenetics and the main topic was imprinting. This paper will answer all your questions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941233/ I am adding some glimpses from this paper here Mammals are diploid organisms whose cells possess two matched sets of chromosomes, one inherited from the mother and one from the father. Thus, mammals have two copies of every gene. Normally both the maternal and paternal copy of each gene has the same potential to be active in any cell. Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic mechanism that changes this potential because it restricts the expression of a gene to one of the two parental chromosomes. It is a phenomenon displayed by only a few hundred of the approximately 25,000 genes in our genome, the majority being expressed equally when inherited from either parent. Genomic imprinting affects both male and female offspring and is, therefore,enter image description here a consequence of parental inheritance, not of sex. As an example of what is meant by this, an imprinted gene that is active on a maternally inherited chromosome will be active on the maternal chromosome and silent on the paternal chromosome in all males and females.

Hope this help and please ask if you do not understand the paper.Thank you

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