Epigenetic variation, a stable alteration in gene expression, occurs at multiple moments during development. Several instances of non-Mendelian transmission to the progenies modes are very intriguing. Studies of the mode of hereditary transmission revealed in a series of such cases a role of noncoding RNA molecules as inducers. While still an enigmatic mechanism, emerging models pinpoint to a more general roles of these variations, initiated as a response to genetic and environmental variation. Here we compare the known modes of transgenerational epigenetic variation in mice and humans. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.