A Genomic Atlas of Systemic Interindividual Epigenetic Variation in Humans (GTEx)
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Methylation of cytosines in CpG dinucleotides is an epigenetic mechanism with essential roles in mammalian development. To explore its functions in cellular differentiation, unbiased analysis of CpG methylation by whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) has been used to characterize epigenetic differences among different human tissues and cell types. Meanwhile, human interindividual variation in DNA methylation that is not cell-type specific has attracted relatively little attention. Systemic interindividual epigenetic variation is important, however, because like genetic variation it is a potential determinant of phenotypic variation and can be assessed in any easily obtainable DNA sample. Since systemic epigenetic variants originate in the preimplantation embryo, their establishment can be influenced by periconceptional environment, and potentially provide information about lifetime risks relevant to global health, obesity, and cancer.
We elucidated systemic interindividual variation in CpG methylation in the human genome. We studied brain, heart, and thyroid tissues ... (Show More)