Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 61, Issue 19–20, pp 2425–2427

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

Visions & Reflections

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-004-4184-y

Cite this article as:
Mandrioli, M. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2004) 61: 2425. doi:10.1007/s00018-004-4184-y


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 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia AnimaleUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

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