PerspectiveEvolution

An epigenetic window into the past?

Science  01 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6196, pp. 511-512
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256515

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Summary

Over the past 30 years, ancient DNA has helped to track past population dynamics, environmental changes, and historical epidemics. Studies of ancient genomes have provided insights into the evolution of humans (1, 2) and other mammals (3). Going beyond sequences, epigenetic changes, such as methylation patterns, can also be detected in ancient genomes (4, 5). This epigenetic information has the potential to elucidate regulatory changes underlying species divergence and population adaptation.