Journal article

Longitudinal, genome-scale analysis of DNA methylation in twins from birth to 18 months of age reveals rapid epigenetic change in early life and pair-specific effects of discordance

David Martino, Yuk Jin Loke, Lavinia Gordon, Miina Ollikainen, Mark N Cruickshank, Richard Saffery, Jeffrey M Craig

GENOME BIOLOGY | BMC | Published : 2013


BACKGROUND: The extent to which development- and age-associated epigenetic changes are influenced by genetic, environmental and stochastic factors remains to be discovered. Twins provide an ideal model with which to investigate these influences but previous cross-sectional twin studies provide contradictory evidence of within-pair epigenetic drift over time. Longitudinal twin studies can potentially address this discrepancy. RESULTS: In a pilot, genome-scale study of DNA from buccal epithelium, a relatively homogeneous tissue, we show that one-third of the CpGs assayed show dynamic methylation between birth and 18 months. Although all classes of annotated genomic regions assessed show an inc..

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Awarded by Australian National Health and Medical Research Council

Awarded by Financial Markets Foundation for Children

Funding Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Ruth Morley, John Carlin, Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, MCRI, Mark Umstad, Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Euan Wallace, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne and Mark Permezel, Mercy Hospital For Women, Melbourne for their contributions to establishing the PETS cohort; Sarah Healy, Tina Vaiano, Nicole Brooks, Jennifer Foord, Sheila Holland, Anne Krastev, Siva Illancheran and Joanne Mockler for recruitment and sample collection; Research Assistant Xin Li, Technical officer Anna Czajko, Study Coordinator Geraldine McIlroy, and all mothers and twins that participated in this study. We also thank Jaakko Kaprio, Khadeeja Ismail and Kirsi Pietilainen for sharing unpublished data and Ben Ong for help with Sequenom analysis. This work was supported by grants from the from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (grant numbers 437015 and 607358 to JMC and RS), the Financial Markets Foundation for Children (grant number 032-2007) and by the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program. RS is supported by a NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. JMC and DM would also like to acknowledge financial support from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.