DNA methylation as the link between migration and the major noncommunicable diseases: the RODAM study

Epigenomics. 2021 May;13(9):653-666. doi: 10.2217/epi-2020-0329. Epub 2021 Apr 23.


Aim: We assessed epigenome-wide DNA methylation (DNAm) differences between migrant and non-migrant Ghanaians. Materials & methods: We used the Illumina Infinium® HumanMethylation450 BeadChip to profile DNAm of 712 Ghanaians in whole blood. We used linear models to detect differentially methylated positions (DMPs) associated with migration. We performed multiple post hoc analyses to validate our findings. Results: We identified 13 DMPs associated with migration (delta-beta values: 0.2-4.5%). Seven DMPs in CPLX2, EIF4E3, MEF2D, TLX3, ST8SIA1, ANG and CHRM3 were independent of extrinsic genomic influences in public databases. Two DMPs in NLRC5 were associated with duration of stay in Europe among migrants. All DMPs were biologically linked to migration-related factors. Conclusion: Our findings provide the first insights into DNAm differences between migrants and non-migrants.

Keywords: DNA methylation; RODAM study; migrants; noncommunicable diseases; sub-Saharan Africans.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black People / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenome
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noncommunicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rural Population
  • Transients and Migrants*
  • Urban Population