University of Oulu

Niiranen L, Leciej D, Edlund H, Bernhardsson C, Fraser M, Quinto FS, Herzig K-H, Jakobsson M, Walkowiak J, Thalmann O. Epigenomic Modifications in Modern and Ancient Genomes. Genes. 2022; 13(2):178.

Epigenomic modifications in modern and ancient genomes

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Author: Niiranen, Laura1; Leciej, Dawid2,3; Edlund, Hanna4;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 5000, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Metabolic Diseases, Poznań University of Medical Sciences, Szpitalna 27/33, 60-572 Poznan, Poland
3Laboratory of Molecular Diagnostics Genmed, Sw. Marcin 49, 61-806 Poznan, Poland
4Human Evolution, Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18c, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden
5Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University-Campus Gotland, Cramérgatan 3, 62157 Visby, Sweden
6Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica, Mexico City 14610, Mexico
7Paleogenomics Group, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Kaulbachstr. 37 III, 80539 München, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-16


Epigenetic changes have been identified as a major driver of fundamental metabolic pathways. More specifically, the importance of epigenetic regulatory mechanisms for biological processes like speciation and embryogenesis has been well documented and revealed the direct link between epigenetic modifications and various diseases. In this review, we focus on epigenetic changes in animals with special attention on human DNA methylation utilizing ancient and modern genomes. Acknowledging the latest developments in ancient DNA research, we further discuss paleoepigenomic approaches as the only means to infer epigenetic changes in the past. Investigating genome-wide methylation patterns of ancient humans may ultimately yield in a more comprehensive understanding of how our ancestors have adapted to the changing environment, and modified their lifestyles accordingly. We discuss the difficulties of working with ancient DNA in particular utilizing paleoepigenomic approaches, and assess new paleoepigenomic data, which might be helpful in future studies.

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Series: Genes
ISSN: 2073-4425
ISSN-E: 2073-4425
ISSN-L: 2073-4425
Volume: 13
Issue: 2
Article number: 178
DOI: 10.3390/met11101515
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
Funding: O.T. received financial support from the NCN Poland (2017/26/E/NZ5/00851).
Copyright information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (