Journal article

Widespread differences in cortex DNA methylation of the "language gene" CNTNAP2 between humans and chimpanzees

Eberhard Schneider, Nady El Hajj, Steven Richter, Justin Roche-Santiago, Indrajit Nanda, Werner Schempp, Peter Riederer, Bianca Navarro, Ronald E Bontrop, Ivanela Kondova, Claus Juergen Scholz, Thomas Haaf



CNTNAP2, one of the largest genes in the human genome, has been linked to human-specific language abilities and neurodevelopmental disorders. Our hypothesis is that epigenetic rather than genetic changes have accelerated the evolution of the human brain. To compare the cortex DNA methylation patterns of human and chimpanzee CNTNAP2 at ultra-high resolution, we combined methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) with NimbleGen tiling arrays for the orthologous gene and flanking sequences. Approximately 1.59 Mb of the 2.51 Mb target region could be aligned and analyzed with a customized algorithm in both species. More than one fifth (0.34 Mb) of the analyzed sequence throughout the entire gene..

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