Rapid Evolution of DNA Methylation in Primates Tend to Occur in Conserved Sequences  

Fang Wang , Hui Yang , Min Zhang , Shaojun Zhang
College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China, 150081
Author    Correspondence author
Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics, 2015, Vol. 3, No. 10   doi: 10.5376/cge.2015.03.0010
Received: 21 May, 2015    Accepted: 03 Jun., 2015    Published: 25 Jun., 2015
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Wang F., Yang H., Zhang M., and Zhang S.J., 2015, Rapid Evolution of DNA Methylation in Primates Tend to Occur in Conserved Sequences, Cancer Genetics Epigenetics, Vol.3, No.10, 1-10 (doi: 10.5376/cge.2015.03.0010)


DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification, which is involved in developmental and regulatory process, such as genome imprint, X-chromosome inactivation and transcriptional silencing. Though there are more and more studies on DNA methylation, it remains unclear about the differences of DNA methylation between human and its closely related primate species. Differentially methylated genes (DMGs) were defined by comparing two models in our paper then some following analysis were done. We found that the patterns of DNA methylation are divergent in promoter and gene body. The functional enrichment of DMG showed association with developmental process, which demonstrated that the changes of DNA methylation might be frequent in the evolution of primate species. Furthermore we found the negative relationship between DNA methylation and gene expression by integrating the DNA methylation data and gene expression data in prefrontal cortex in human and chimpanzee. We compared the DNA methylation of human and chimpanzee relative to their common ancestor to analyze the special pattern of DNA methylation in human and the results demonstrated the rapid evolution of hypermethylation in promoter. We also found the conversation in protein coding regions in human and chimpanzee while the epigenetic modification changes occurred, this might explained the important role of epigenetic modification in the divergence between human and chimpanzee. Our study would be helpful to reveal the pattern and evolution of DNA methylation in human, chimpanzee and macaque.

DNA methylation; Primate; Evolution; Promoter; Gene body
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