Towards Epigenomic Analysis of Mouse Germ Cells

Lead Research Organisation: Babraham Institute
Department Name: UNLISTED


Over and above the sequence of our genes, our DNA is modified by chemical marks (methylation) that help determine which genes should be active and which genes silent in any particular tissue of our bodies. A particularly important time that these chemical marks are added to our DNA is in our gametes, the sperm and the egg. The marks added in our gametes will help dictate which genes are used during the earliest stages of embryo development and some of these marks will remain in place on our genes throughout our lifetimes and can influence how are genes are expressed even in adulthood. Therefore, it is very important to understand the processes that cause these marks to be added correctly to the genes they influence. This is very challenging, because current experimental methods require large numbers of cells, and it is not possible to obtain the required numbers, particularly of mammalian eggs. In this project, we are developing techniques that will allow us to detect the methylation of all our genes in very small amounts of material, such as mammalian eggs. We expect that the results we obtain will provide an important reference for future studies in reproductive health.


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Description This short project enabled us to improve methods for genome-wide DNA methylation analysis in small numbers of cells, which was applied specifically to the analysis of mouse oocytes.
Exploitation Route This resulted in a generally applicable method that could be used for DNA methylation profiling of any cell that was only available in small numbers, such as mammalian eggs of cells from small clinical biopsies.
Sectors Healthcare