Visions & Reflections

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 61, Issue 19, pp 2425-2427

First online:

Epigenetic tinkering and evolution: is there any continuity in the role of cytosine methylation from invertebrates to vertebrates?

  • M. MandrioliAffiliated withDipartimento di Biologia Animale, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia Email author 

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The function of DNA methylation has been investigated in depth in vertebrate and plant genomes, establishing that it is involved in gene silencing and transposon control. Data regarding insect methylation, even if still scanty, apparently argue against evolutionary conservation of DNA methylation functions. Cytosine methylation, therefore, proves to be an epigenetic tool repeatedly used to accomplish different functions in different taxa according to a sort of epigenetic tinkering occurring during evolution.

Key words.

Epigenetics DNA methylation DNA methyltransferase gene expression cytosine methylation functions invertebrate-vertebrate transition