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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 26;102(30):10604-9. Epub 2005 Jul 11.

Epigenetic differences arise during the lifetime of monozygotic twins.

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  • 1Epigenetics Laboratory, Spanish National Cancer Centre (CNIO), Melchor Fernandez Almagro 3, 28029 Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

Monozygous twins share a common genotype. However, most monozygotic twin pairs are not identical; several types of phenotypic discordance may be observed, such as differences in susceptibilities to disease and a wide range of anthropomorphic features. There are several possible explanations for these observations, but one is the existence of epigenetic differences. To address this issue, we examined the global and locus-specific differences in DNA methylation and histone acetylation of a large cohort of monozygotic twins. We found that, although twins are epigenetically indistinguishable during the early years of life, older monozygous twins exhibited remarkable differences in their overall content and genomic distribution of 5-methylcytosine DNA and histone acetylation, affecting their gene-expression portrait. These findings indicate how an appreciation of epigenetics is missing from our understanding of how different phenotypes can be originated from the same genotype.

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PMID:
16009939
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1174919
Free PMC Article

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