DNA Methylation And Modifying DNA Influencing Cellular Functions
DNA methylation is a form of post-replicative or epigenetic modification of DNA that influences cellular functions by altering the gene expression but do not involve changes in the underlying genomic DNA sequence. DNA methylation is critical for normal mammalian embryonic development, gene silencing, X chromosome inactivation and imprinting. It acts as a cue for strand specificity in DNA replication and repair and could also serve as a defense mechanism to silence transposable elements.
This post-synthesis modification occurs only at carbon number 5 in CpG dinucleotides of which between 70 to 80% in humans. Abnormal DNA methylation patterns are closely associated with most cancers in mammals (Knowles and Selby 2005; Szyf 2005).
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