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Abstract title Global mQTL analysis identifies genetic polymorphisms underlying methylation and gene expression differences in the chicken
Author Andrey Höglund, Sweden / IFM, Linköping, Sweden (Presenting author)
Topic 19 Evolution of gene expression regulation
Abstract text

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that affects gene expression levels and is found in all vertebrates. Recent studies have shown that the underlying DNA sequence affects the DNA methylation levels. Here, we seek to identify the mechanics of DNA methylation in the chicken and locate regions on the genome that are associated with differential methylation levels. A DNA methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTL) analysis was conducted using 124 hypothalamus samples collected from the eighth generation of an advanced intercross between wild and domestic birds. Individual resequencing of hypothalamus MeDIP samples (30M reads/ sample, 124 samples) were compared with microarray expression data from the same individual, whilst 768 SNP markers/ sample were also genotyped. A total of 907 cis mQTLs and 483 trans mQTL were identified, whilst 800 cis expression (eQTL) were also identified. To identify genes regulatied by methylation, mQTL and eQTL were overlapped, before individual expression and methylation were then correlated. This identified 281 regions representing 100 genes where genotypic polymorphisms regulated both methylation and gene expression. These results help identify how methylation can regulate quantitative variation in expression in the chicken, as well as elucidate methylation-related breed differences between wild and domestic chickens.