DNA methylation is a dynamic chemical modification that is abundant on DNA sequences and plays a central role in the regulatory mechanisms of cells.  In recent years, high-throughput sequencing technologies have enabled genome-wide annotation of DNA methylation. Coupled with novel computational machinery, these developments shed new light on the biological function of this phenomenon.

 In this talk I will present the first comparative study of genome-wide DNA methylation in three primate species: human, chimpanzee and orangutan, revealing that these species can be distinguished based on differences in DNA methylation that are independent of the underlying DNA sequence. This result is based on a novel algorithm that produces corrected site-specific methylation states given data from a cost-effective, but biased experimental method. The method leads to questions about the nature of methylation signatures in DNA, and a fundamental computational question about how to recognize such signatures. I will discuss the question and a proposed solution that is optimal given biologically motivated assumptions.


Faculty Host: Adam Siepel


B17 Upson Hall

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Refreshments at 3:45pm in the Upson 4th Floor Atrium


Computer Science


Analysis of DNA Methylation in the

High-throughput Sequencing Era

Meromit Singer