Germline DNA replication timing shapes mammalian genome composition

Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Sep 19;46(16):8299-8310. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky610.


Mammalian DNA replication is a highly organized and regulated process. Large, Mb-sized regions are replicated at defined times along S-phase. Replication Timing (RT) is thought to play a role in shaping the mammalian genome by affecting mutation rates. Previous analyses relied on somatic RT profiles. However, only germline mutations are passed on to offspring and affect genomic composition. Therefore, germ cell RT information is necessary to evaluate the influences of RT on the mammalian genome. We adapted the RT mapping technique for limited amounts of cells, and measured RT from two stages in the mouse germline - primordial germ cells (PGCs) and spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). RT in germline cells exhibited stronger correlations to both mutation rate and recombination hotspots density than those of RT in somatic tissues, emphasizing the importance of using correct tissues-of-origin for RT profiling. Germline RT maps exhibited stronger correlations to additional genetic features including GC-content, transposable elements (SINEs and LINEs), and gene density. GC content stratification and multiple regression analysis revealed independent contributions of RT to SINE, gene, mutation, and recombination hotspot densities. Together, our results establish a central role for RT in shaping multiple levels of mammalian genome composition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Composition / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • DNA Replication Timing / genetics*
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Female
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / metabolism*
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Male
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mice, 129 Strain
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Short Interspersed Nucleotide Elements / genetics
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • DNA Transposable Elements