Stochastic epigenetic changes drive biological processes, such as development, aging and disease. Yet, epigenetic information is typically collected from millions of cells, thereby precluding a more precise understanding of cell-to-cell variability and the pathogenic history of epimutations. Here we present a novel procedure for directly detecting epimutations in DNA methylation patterns using single-cell, locus-specific bisulfite sequencing (SLBS). We show that within gene promoter regions of mouse hepatocytes the epimutation rate is two orders of magnitude higher than the mutation rate.
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.