© 2014, AICH - Servier Research Group. Cellular processes that control transcription of genetic information are critical for cellular function, and are often implicated in psychiatric and neurological disease states. Among the most critical of these processes are epigenetic mechanisms, which serve to link the cellular environment with genomic material. Until recently our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms has been limited by the lack of tools that can selectively manipulate the epigenome with genetic, cellular, and temporal precision, which in turn diminishes the potential impact of epigenetic processes as therapeutic targets. This review highlights an emerging suite of tools that enable robust yet selective interrogation of the epigenome. In addition to allowing site-specific epigenetic editing, these tools can be paired with optogenetic approaches to provide temporal control over epigenetic processes, allowing unparalleled insight into the function of these mechanisms. This improved control promises to revolutionize our understanding of epigenetic modifications in human health and disease states.