Epigenetics: It's Getting Old. Past Meets Future in Paleoepigenetics

David Gokhman, Eran Meshorer*, Liran Carmel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed the rise of ancient DNA (aDNA) technology, allowing comparative genomics to be carried out at unprecedented time resolution. While it is relatively straightforward to use aDNA to identify recent genomic changes, it is much less clear how to utilize it to study changes in epigenetic regulation. Here we review recent works demonstrating that highly degraded aDNA still contains sufficient information to allow reconstruction of epigenetic signals, including DNA methylation and nucleosome positioning maps. We discuss challenges arising from the tissue specificity of epigenetics, and show how some of them might in fact turn into advantages. Finally, we introduce a method to infer methylation states in tissues that do not tend to be preserved over time.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)290-300
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation FIRST individual grant (ISF 1430/13 to L.C. and E.M.); the Israel Science Foundation (ISF 657/12 to E.M.); and the European Research Council (ERC-281781 to E.M.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords

  • Ancient DNA
  • DNA methylation
  • Denisovan
  • Epigenetics
  • Neanderthal
  • Nucleosome

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