Interindividual variation in epigenomic phenomena in humans
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Our knowledge of regulatory mechanisms of gene expression and other chromosomal processes related to DNA methylation and chromatin state is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Understanding how these epigenomic phenomena vary between individuals will have an impact on understanding their broader role in determining variation in gene expression and biochemical, physiological, and behavioural phenotypes. In this review we survey recent progress in this area, focusing on data available from humans. We highlight the role of obligatory (sequence-dependent) epigenomic variation as an important mechanism for generating interindividual variation that could impact our understanding of the mechanistic basis of complex trait architecture.
HJF was funded by a postgraduate scholarship from the JCSMR, RA was funded by a JCSMR Summer Scholarship in 2009, RBHW was funded in part by an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship, and KH was funded by an NHMRC Project Grant. We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback.
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