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Genomic regulation

The role of epigenetics in gene regulation

Heritable changes in gene expression due to mechanisms other than mutations in DNA sequence are termed “epigenetics.” These changes are of vast importance to human medical and disease studies as well as to understand the regulation of gene expression in animals and plants. Of all epigenetic mechanisms modulating gene expression, DNA methylation is probably the best understood. Methylation is common in humans and other mammals, where 70 to 80% of CpG dinucleotides are methylated, yet in some model organisms, such as yeast and fruit fly, there is little or no DNA methylation.

Red and yellow dots on a black background in a coordinate system.
Log-methylation vs. GC3

We analyzed the methylation patterns in human, zebrafish, bees, fruit fly, rice, and thale cress. We developed computational prediction methods for DNA methylation and studied the role of the third codon position (GC3) in respect to methylation and gene expression. We are interested in studying the role of methylation on behavior, disease, and phenotypes that reflect environmental changes.


  1. Tatarinova T, Elhaik E, Pellegrini M: Cross-Species Analysis of Genic GC3 Content and DNA Methylation Patterns. Genome Biol Evol 2013, 5(8):1443-1456.
  2. Elhaik E, Pellegrini M, Tatarinova T: Gene expression and nucleotide composition are associated with genic methylation level in Oryza sativa. BMC Bioinformatics 2014, 15(1):23.
  3. Eachus H, Subramanya D, Jackson HE, Wang G, Berntsen K, Ashton J-P, Esposito U, Seifuddin F, Pirooznia M, Elhaik E et al: Regulation of neuron-specific gene transcription by stress hormone signalling requires synaptic activity in zebrafish. bioRxiv 2019:714873.
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