Methylation of cytosines is a pervasive feature of eukaryotic genomes and an important epigenetic layer that is fundamental for cellular differentiation processes and control of transcriptional potential. DNA methylation patterns can be inherited and influenced by the environment, diet and aging, and disrupted in diseases. Complete DNA methylomes for several organisms are now available, helping clarify the evolutionary story of this epigenetic mark and its distribution in key genomic elements. Nonetheless, a complete understanding of its role, the mechanisms responsible for its establishment and maintenance, and its cross talk with other components of cellular machinery remains elusive.
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