Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Genome Biol. 2018 Jan 9;19(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s13059-017-1374-0.

Epigenetic supersimilarity of monozygotic twin pairs.

Author information

1
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
2
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
3
Cancer Epidemiology and Intelligence Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
4
Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School for Global and Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
5
Department of Medical Sciences, University of Torino and Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine, Torino, Italy.
6
MRC Unit The Gambia, Keneba, Gambia.
7
MRC International Nutrition Group at LSHTM, London, UK.
8
Division of Women's Health, King's College London, London, UK.
9
Epigenetics Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
10
LICAMM, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
11
School of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
12
MRC-PHE Center for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.
13
Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine, Torino, Italy.
14
CESP Inserm, Facultés de medicine Université Paris-Sud, Paris, France.
15
Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
16
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA. waterland@bcm.edu.
17
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA. waterland@bcm.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Monozygotic twins have long been studied to estimate heritability and explore epigenetic influences on phenotypic variation. The phenotypic and epigenetic similarities of monozygotic twins have been assumed to be largely due to their genetic identity.

RESULTS:

Here, by analyzing data from a genome-scale study of DNA methylation in monozygotic and dizygotic twins, we identified genomic regions at which the epigenetic similarity of monozygotic twins is substantially greater than can be explained by their genetic identity. This "epigenetic supersimilarity" apparently results from locus-specific establishment of epigenotype prior to embryo cleavage during twinning. Epigenetically supersimilar loci exhibit systemic interindividual epigenetic variation and plasticity to periconceptional environment and are enriched in sub-telomeric regions. In case-control studies nested in a prospective cohort, blood DNA methylation at these loci years before diagnosis is associated with risk of developing several types of cancer.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results establish a link between early embryonic epigenetic development and adult disease. More broadly, epigenetic supersimilarity is a previously unrecognized phenomenon that may contribute to the phenotypic similarity of monozygotic twins.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; DOHaD; Developmental programming; Dizygotic; Epigenetics; Metastable epialleles; Monozygotic; Twins

PMID:
29310692
PMCID:
PMC5759268
DOI:
10.1186/s13059-017-1374-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

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