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LMB Seminar Series-Epigenetic inheritance in mammals

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Epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation, contribute to the regulation of genome function. Such modifications can be heritably maintained in somatic lineages, however, between generations epigenetic modification are erased and re-established twice ensuring that most epigenetic states are not perpetuated across generations. Nonetheless, epigenetic inheritance is evident at genomic imprints – regions of the genome that regulate the parental origin-specific gene expression that is important for pre and postnatal development, neurological processes and the control of metabolic resources. Mechanisms regulating epigenetic inheritance at imprints will be discussed. We have considered whether epigenetic inheritance occurs in a wider context. Inspired by a classic mouse model caused by the insertion of a retrotransposon upstream of the agouti coat colour locus (Avy) exhibiting non-genetic transmission of coat colour across generations, we have conducted a screen for retrotransposons exhibiting properties of Avy. Our studies have provided novel insights into the epigenetic control of the repeat genome, the contribution of epigenetically modulated repeats to genome function, and the mechanisms of non-genetic inheritance of phenotypes across generations. Kazachenka, Bertozzi et al., Cell, 175(6):1717 (2018) Takahashi, Coluccio et al., Genes & Development, 33(1-2):49-54 (2019)

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