A genome-scale map of DNA methylation kinetics

While the first genome-wide DNA methylation map in mammalian cells was established over 10 years ago, such maps only provide snapshots and do not inform about the actual dynamics of this epigenetic mark. Researchers from ...

New tool probes gene regulation

DNA methylation (DNAme) is a modification of the genome—an epigenetic "mark"—that is required for proper cellular differentiation. It has been implicated in the regulation of gene expression, but its role in this stepwise ...

'Living fossil' may upend basic tenet of evolutionary theory

The field of evolutionary biology has seen its share of spirited debates. But if there's one principle that virtually every expert in the field agrees on, it's that natural selection occurs at the level of the genome.

Study: The human lifespan is written into our DNA

Humans have a "natural" lifespan of around 38 years, according to a new method we have developed for estimating the lifespans of different species by analyzing their DNA.

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DNA methylation

DNA methylation is a type of chemical modification of DNA that can be inherited and subsequently removed without changing the original DNA sequence. As such, it is part of the epigenetic code and is also the best characterized epigenetic mechanism. Because methylation is a common capability of all viruses for self non-self identification, the epigenetic code could be a persistent remnant of ancient viral infection events.

DNA methylation involves the addition of a methyl group to DNA — for example, to the number 5 carbon of the cytosine pyrimidine ring — in this case with the specific effect of reducing gene expression. DNA methylation at the 5 position of cytosine has been found in every vertebrate examined. In adult somatic tissues, DNA methylation typically occurs in a CpG dinucleotide context; non-CpG methylation is prevalent in embryonic stem cells.

In plants, cytosines are methylated both symmetrically (CpG or CpNpG) and asymmetrically (CpNpNp), where N can be any nucleotide but guanine.

Research has suggested that long term memory storage in humans may be regulated by DNA methylation.

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