A genome-wide survey of DNA methylation in hexaploid wheat

Laura-Jayne Gardiner, Mark Quinton-Tulloch, Lisa Olohan, Jonathan Price, Neil Hall, Anthony Hall

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BACKGROUND: DNA methylation is an important mechanism of epigenetic gene expression control that can be passed between generations. Here, we use sodium bisulfite treatment and targeted gene enrichment to study genome-wide methylation across the three sub-genomes of allohexaploid wheat.

RESULTS: While the majority of methylation is conserved across all three genomes we demonstrate that differential methylation exists between the sub-genomes in approximately equal proportions. We correlate sub-genome-specific promoter methylation with decreased expression levels and show that altered growing temperature has a small effect on methylation state, identifying a small but functionally relevant set of methylated genes. Finally, we demonstrate long-term methylation maintenance using a comparison between the D sub-genome of hexaploid wheat and its progenitor Aegilops tauschii.

CONCLUSIONS: We show that tri-genome methylation is highly conserved with the diploid wheat progenitor while sub-genome-specific methylation shows more variation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number273
JournalGenome Biology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Diploidy
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Plant
  • Polyploidy
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Stress, Physiological/genetics
  • Temperature
  • Triticum/genetics

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