Our varied methylome

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Science  29 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6272, pp. 462-463
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6272.462-e

Differential methylation of genes has been associated with disease and may play a role in the phenotypic variation between individuals. In order to survey global methylation and to understand how genetic versus nongenetic factors affect methylation, Busche et al. used whole-genome bisulfide sequencing on adipose and blood samples from identical and fraternal twins. Although methylation patterns in tissues showed a high degree of similarity between individuals, the authors did find that 15 to 20% of the tissue methylome varied across individuals, primarily in gene enhancers. More surprisingly, in cases where the environment determined methylation, approximately 60% of the observed variation was unique to the individual.

Genome Biol. 16, 290 (2015).

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