Epigenetic mechanisms act as control systems for modulating genomic structure and activity in response to evolving profiles of cell-extrinsic, cell-cell, and cell-intrinsic signals. These dynamic processes are responsible for mediating cell- and tissue-specific gene expression and function and gene–gene and gene–environmental interactions. The major epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation; histone protein posttranslational modifications, nucleosome remodeling/repositioning, and higher-order chromatin reorganization; noncoding RNA regulation; and RNA editing. These mechanisms are intimately involved in executing fundamental genomic programs, including gene transcription, posttranscriptional RNA processing and transport, translation, X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, retrotransposon regulation, DNA replication, and DNA repair and the maintenance of genomic stability. For the nervous system, epigenetics offers a novel and robust framework for explaining how brain development and aging occur, neural cellular diversity is generated, synaptic and neural network connectivity and plasticity are mediated, and complex cognitive and behavioral phenotypes are inherited transgenerationally. Epigenetic factors and processes are, not surprisingly, implicated in nervous system disease pathophysiology through several emerging paradigms – mutations and genetic variation in genes encoding epigenetic factors; impairments in epigenetic factor expression, localization, and function; epigenetic mechanisms modulating disease-associated factors and pathways; and the presence of deregulated epigenetic profiles in central and peripheral tissues.