The future of drug design and the development of new therapeutics will rely on our ability to unravel the complexities of the epigenome in normal and disease states. Proper epigenetic regulation is essential for normal differentiation in embryogenesis and development. Conversely, abnormal epigenetic regulation is a feature of complex diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other pathologies. Epigenetic therapies hold promise for a wide range of biological applications, from cancer treatment to the establishment of induced pluripotent stem cells. The creation of more specific and effective epigenetic therapies, however, requires a more complete understanding of epigenomic landscapes. Here, we give a historical overview of the epigenomics field and how epigenetic modifications can affect embryo development and disease etiology. We also discuss the impact of current and future epigenetic drugs.