[M]uch has been made of the idea that such changes can be caused by the environment and passed on to subsequent generations. Too much, [geneticist Edith] Heard says. “People are going around saying that any environmental influence that can change your gene expression pattern we can call epigenetic. And from that people are saying that what you eat and drink, or what you breathe, will actually influence not just you but maybe even your children and grandchildren.” This may happen in plants, and in some other organisms, but in humans, Heard says, “there is no good evidence that this can be heritable across several generations. It’s overhyped”.
Yet Heard points out that even epigenetic changes are likely to have a genetic trigger in the first place. “Even our epigenetic changes are genetically driven. The code of genetics is the code. It’s the only code.” But now with epigenetics, “people are hoping we can pray our way out of faulty genes”.
-Catherine de Lange, The Guardian, 22 June 2013