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Altered DNA methylation associated with an abnormal liver phenotype in a cattle model with a high incidence of perinatal pathologies

Abstract : Cloning enables the generation of both clinically normal and pathological individuals from the same donor cells, and may therefore be a DNA sequence-independent driver of phenotypic variability. We took advantage of cattle clones with identical genotypes but different developmental abilities to investigate the role of epigenetic factors in perinatal mortality, a complex trait with increasing prevalence in dairy cattle. We studied livers from pathological clones dying during the perinatal period, clinically normal adult clones with the same genotypes as perinatal clones and conventional age-matched controls. The livers from deceased perinatal clones displayed histological lesions, modifications to quantitative histomorphometric and metabolic parameters such as glycogen storage and fatty acid composition, and an absence of birth-induced maturation. In a genome-wide epigenetic analysis, we identified DNA methylation patterns underlying these phenotypic alterations and targeting genes relevant to liver metabolism, including the type 2 diabetes gene TCF7L2. The adult clones were devoid of major phenotypic and epigenetic abnormalities in the liver, ruling out the effects of genotype on the phenotype observed. These results thus provide the first demonstration of a genome-wide association between DNA methylation and perinatal mortality in cattle, and highlight epigenetics as a driving force for phenotypic variability in farmed animals.
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Hélène Kiefer, Luc Jouneau, Evelyne Campion, Delphine Rousseau-Ralliard, Thibaut Larcher, et al.. Altered DNA methylation associated with an abnormal liver phenotype in a cattle model with a high incidence of perinatal pathologies. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6, pp.38869. ⟨10.1038/srep38869⟩. ⟨hal-02633915⟩



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