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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Apr 14;112(15):4618-23. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1422088112. Epub 2015 Mar 30.

Characterization of global loss of imprinting in fetal overgrowth syndrome induced by assisted reproduction.

Author information

Division of Animal Sciences.
Department of Statistics.
Department of Biological Sciences, and.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.
Division of Animal Sciences,


Embryos generated with the use of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) can develop overgrowth syndromes. In ruminants, the condition is referred to as large offspring syndrome (LOS) and exhibits variable phenotypic abnormalities including overgrowth, enlarged tongue, and abdominal wall defects. These characteristics recapitulate those observed in the human loss-of-imprinting (LOI) overgrowth syndrome Beckwith-Wiedemann (BWS). We have recently shown LOI at the KCNQ1 locus in LOS, the most common epimutation in BWS. Although the first case of ART-induced LOS was reported in 1995, studies have not yet determined the extent of LOI in this condition. Here, we determined allele-specific expression of imprinted genes previously identified in human and/or mouse in day ∼105 Bos taurus indicus × Bos taurus taurus F1 hybrid control and LOS fetuses using RNAseq. Our analysis allowed us to determine the monoallelic expression of 20 genes in tissues of control fetuses. LOS fetuses displayed variable LOI compared with controls. Biallelic expression of imprinted genes in LOS was associated with tissue-specific hypomethylation of the normally methylated parental allele. In addition, a positive correlation was observed between body weight and the number of biallelically expressed imprinted genes in LOS fetuses. Furthermore, not only was there loss of allele-specific expression of imprinted genes in LOS, but also differential transcript amounts of these genes between control and overgrown fetuses. In summary, we characterized previously unidentified imprinted genes in bovines and identified misregulation of imprinting at multiple loci in LOS. We concluded that LOS is a multilocus LOI syndrome, as is BWS.


Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome; assisted reproductive technologies; genomic imprinting; large offspring syndrome; loss of imprinting

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