DNA Methylation: Roles in Mammalian Development

Nat Rev Genet. 2013 Mar;14(3):204-20. doi: 10.1038/nrg3354. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

Abstract

DNA methylation is among the best studied epigenetic modifications and is essential to mammalian development. Although the methylation status of most CpG dinucleotides in the genome is stably propagated through mitosis, improvements to methods for measuring methylation have identified numerous regions in which it is dynamically regulated. In this Review, we discuss key concepts in the function of DNA methylation in mammals, stemming from more than two decades of research, including many recent studies that have elucidated when and where DNA methylation has a regulatory role in the genome. We include insights from early development, embryonic stem cells and adult lineages, particularly haematopoiesis, to highlight the general features of this modification as it participates in both global and localized epigenetic regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Germ Cells / growth & development
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mammals / growth & development*