Navigation Links
Insight into DNA reprogramming during egg and sperm cell development
Date:12/6/2012

Scientists at the Babraham Institute have gained a new understanding of when and how the DNA in developing egg and sperm cells is 'reset', in preparation for making a new embryo. It is well known that small chemical groups can be added to DNA to alter gene activity, these modifications to the DNA are acquired during development in the womb and throughout adult life and can arise from changes in environment. Most of these modifications are removed in immature egg and sperm cells to 'reset' the DNA and to erase any 'environmental memory', but some remain. Decoding this reprogramming has major implications for our understanding of development and how these modifications can be inherited from one generation to another.

All the cells in the body of one individual have the same DNA sequence (genome) and it is how the DNA sequence is interpreted that results in the formation of different cell types, for example different genes can be switched on and off. Inactive genes often have a small chemical modification, called a methyl group, added to them outside the coding sequence which promotes this regulation. This study, published today (6 December) in the journal Molecular Cell, is the first genome-wide study to look at what happens to the methyl groups during early stages of egg and sperm cell (primordial germ cell) development. This type of research, investigating modifications to the DNA which do not alter the underlying DNA sequence, is called epigenetics.

Dr Stefanie Seisenberger, lead author from the Babraham Institute, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), explained, "We produced a high resolution map showing the location and timing of methyl group removal from primordial germ cell DNA. We discovered that the majority of demethylation occurred much earlier than people previously thought and this has allowed us to shed light on the process of methyl group removal in mammals, a mechanism which has remained elusive for many years. An even more exciting finding is that we have identified regions of DNA that avoid demethylation and are therefore candidates for how environmental information can be transferred from parent to offspring. Interestingly, one of these areas has a link with type 2 diabetes."

Professor Wolf Reik, senior author of the paper, a Group Leader at the Babraham Institute and an associate faculty member at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, added, "Several recent studies in other laboratories have confirmed that environmental information can be transferred from parent to offspring in mammals, for example mice fed a high-fat diet produce offspring with altered metabolic regulation, but it is not known how this occurs. One interesting observation from our study, which backs up work performed elsewhere, is that incomplete removal of methyl groups from DNA occurs more frequently in sperm than egg forming cells, suggesting that fathers have a bigger part to play in epigenetic inheritance than previously thought. This has implications not only for understanding mechanisms of inheritance and development but also our susceptibility to obesity and diseases like diabetes."


'/>"/>
Contact: Dr Anja Drozd
anja.drozd@babraham.ac.uk
44-012-234-96206
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New insights into cloud formation
2. Research on flavanols and procyanidins provides new insights into how these phytonutrients may positively impact human health
3. New insight into mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases suggests a potential therapy
4. Discovery offers insight into treating viral stomach flu
5. Fine-scale analysis of the human brain yields insight into its distinctive composition
6. Chimpanzee ground nests offer new insight into our ancestors descent from the trees
7. Battle of the sexes offers evolutionary insights
8. Analysis of speed of Greenland glaciers gives new insight for rising sea level
9. Mice with big brains provide insight into brain regeneration and developmental disorders
10. Maps of Miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution
11. Songbirds learning hub in brain offers insight into motor control
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... Florida , March 29, 2016 ... the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased ... in ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ... Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange ... forensic analysis of the DNA. Bill ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... facial recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... ), a leading provider of secure digital communications services, ... their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those ... secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Proove Biosciences, ... to announce the launch of the Proove Health Foundation . The Foundation ... to promote the use of personalized medicine for tackling the nation’s most-pressing healthcare ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... Intelligent Implant ... by the FDA via 510(k) for sale in the United States. These components ... posterior thoraco-lumbar fusions. With one-level sales beginning in October of 2015, the company ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... deliver a talk on its first-in-class technologies for tissue stem cell counting and ... on RNAiMicroRNA Biology to Reprogramming & CRISPR-based Genome Engineering in Burlington, Massachusetts. , ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased to ... been a volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since then, he has served in ... treasurer and was chairman for both the program and exposition committees. In his professional ...
Breaking Biology Technology: