Send to

Choose Destination
Epigenomics. 2016 Oct;8(10):1399-1413. Epub 2016 Sep 23.

Establishment and functions of DNA methylation in the germline.

Author information

Epigenetics Programme, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, CB22 3AT, UK.
Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen, DK2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Laboratory of Developmental Biology & Genetics, Department of Molecular Biology, University of South Bohemia, 37005 České Budějovice, Czech Republic.


Epigenetic modifications established during gametogenesis regulate transcription and other nuclear processes in gametes, but also have influences in the zygote, embryo and postnatal life. This is best understood for DNA methylation which, established at discrete regions of the oocyte and sperm genomes, governs genomic imprinting. In this review, we describe how imprinting has informed our understanding of de novo DNA methylation mechanisms, highlight how recent genome-wide profiling studies have provided unprecedented insights into establishment of the sperm and oocyte methylomes and consider the fate and function of gametic methylation and other epigenetic modifications after fertilization.


DNA methylation; embryo; imprinting; oogenesis; spermatogenesis; transgenerational inheritance

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Financial & competing interests disclosure KR Stewart was supported by a studentship from the Cambridge Overseas Trusts. L Veselovska was supported by a Babraham Institute: Cambridge University studentship. Work in G Kelsey's laboratory is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council. The authors have no other relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript apart from those disclosed. No writing assistance was utilized in the production of this manuscript.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center