Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) hold a central role in studying human development, in disease modeling and in regenerative medicine. These cells not only acquire genetic modifications when kept in culture, but they may also harbor epigenetic aberrations, mainly involving parental imprinting and X-chromosome inactivation. Here we present a detailed bioinformatic protocol for detecting such aberrations using RNA sequencing data. We provide a pipeline designed to process and analyze RNA sequencing data for the identification of abnormal biallelic expression of imprinted genes, and thus detect loss of imprinting. Furthermore, we show how to differentiate among X-chromosome inactivation, full activation and aberrant erosion of X chromosome in female hPSCs. In addition to providing bioinformatic tools, we discuss the impact of such epigenetic variations in hPSCs on their utility for various purposes. This pipeline can be used by any user with basic understanding of the Linux command line. It is available on GitHub as a software container (https://github.com/Gal-Keshet/EpiTyping) and produces reliable results in 1–4 d.
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