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Functional CpG Methylation System in a Social Insect

Science  27 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5799, pp. 645-647
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135213

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Abstract

DNA methylation systems are well characterized in vertebrates, but methylation in Drosophila melanogaster and other invertebrates remains controversial. Using the recently sequenced honey bee genome, we present a bioinformatic, molecular, and biochemical characterization of a functional DNA methylation system in an insect. We report on catalytically active orthologs of the vertebrate DNA methyltransferases Dnmt1 and Dnmt3a and b, two isoforms that contain a methyl-DNA binding domain, genomic 5-methyl-deoxycytosine, and CpG-methylated genes. The honey bee provides an opportunity to study the roles of methylation in social contexts.

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