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Global DNA Methylation in the Limbic System of Cattle

Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
West Central Research and Extension Center, University of Nebraska, North Platte, NE 69101, USA
Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Epigenomes 2019, 3(2), 8;
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 23 April 2019 / Accepted: 29 April 2019 / Published: 5 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetics of the Nervous System 2.0)
PDF [818 KB, uploaded 5 May 2019]


To elucidate the extent to which DNA methylation varies across multiple tissues in the brain and between animals, we have quantified global DNA methylation in tissues comprising the limbic system for six Red Angus x Simmental steers. Global DNA methylation was measured in nine regions of the bovine brain: amygdala, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, cingulate gyrus, dorsal raphe, hippocampus, hypothalamus, nucleus accumbens, periaqueductal gray and prefrontal cortex. DNA methylation varies among animals for each tissue type and varies among tissue types for each animal. The highest amounts of DNA methylation were found in the amygdala, cingulate gyrus and dorsal raphe, while the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, nucleus accumbens and periaqueductal gray had the lowest amounts of DNA methylation. A heatmap sorted by k-means clustering was generated to graphically display percent DNA methylation in relation to tissue type and animal number. This is the first study to report measures of DNA methylation in the limbic system of the bovine brain and can be used to inform the cattle genomics community of expected variation in cattle brain methylation. View Full-Text
Keywords: epigenetics; methylation; cattle; temperament; brain epigenetics; methylation; cattle; temperament; brain

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cantrell, B.; Lachance, H.; Murdoch, B.; Sjoquist, J.; Funston, R.; Weaber, R.; McKay, S. Global DNA Methylation in the Limbic System of Cattle. Epigenomes 2019, 3, 8.

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