Adult porcine genome-wide DNA methylation patterns support pigs as a biomedical model

K.M. Schachtschneider, O. Madsen, C. Park, L.A. Rund, M.A.M. Groenen, L.B. Schook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pigs (Sus scrofa) provide relevant biomedical models to dissect complex diseases due to their anatomical, genetic, and physiological similarities with humans. Aberrant DNA methylation has been linked to many of these diseases and is associated with gene expression; however, the functional similarities and differences between porcine and human DNA methylation patterns are largely unknown. Methods: DNA and RNA was isolated from eight tissue samples (fat, heart, kidney, liver, lung, lymph node, muscle, and spleen) from the adult female Duroc utilized for the pig genome sequencing project. Reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) and RNA-seq were performed on an Illumina HiSeq2000. RRBS reads were aligned using BSseeker2, and only sites with a minimum depth of 10 reads were used for methylation analysis. RNA-seq reads were aligned using Tophat, and expression analysis was performed using Cufflinks. In addition, SNP calling was performed using GATK for targeted control and whole genome sequencing reads for CpG site validation and allelic expression analysis, respectively. Results: Analysis on the influence of DNA variation in methylation calling revealed a reduced effectiveness of WGS datasets in covering CpG rich regions, as well as the usefulness of a targeted control library for SNP detection. Analysis of over 500,000 CpG sites demonstrated genome wide methylation patterns similar to those observed in humans, including reduced methylation within CpG islands and at transcription start sites (TSS), X chromosome inactivation, and anticorrelation of TSS CpG methylation with gene expression. In addition, a positive correlation between TSS CpG density and expression, and a negative correlation between TSS TpG density and expression were demonstrated. Low but non-random non-CpG methylation (
Original languageEnglish
Article number743
Number of pages18
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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