July 7, 2019  |  

Genome-wide epigenetic studies in chicken: A review

Authors: David, Sarah-Anne and Mersch, Marjorie and Foissac, Sylvain and Collin, Anne and Pitel, Frédérique and Coustham, Vincent

Over the years, farmed birds have been selected on various performance traits mainly through genetic selection. However, many studies have shown that genetics may not be the sole contributor to phenotypic plasticity. Gene expression programs can be influenced by environmentally induced epigenetic changes that may alter the phenotypes of the developing animals. Recently, high-throughput sequencing techniques became sufficiently affordable thanks to technological advances to study whole epigenetic landscapes in model plants and animals. In birds, a growing number of studies recently took advantage of these techniques to gain insights into the epigenetic mechanisms of gene regulation in processes such as immunity or environmental adaptation. Here, we review the current gain of knowledge on the chicken epigenome made possible by recent advances in high-throughput sequencing techniques by focusing on the two most studied epigenetic modifications, DNA methylation and histone post-translational modifications. We discuss and provide insights about designing and performing analyses to further explore avian epigenomes. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the epigenetic regulation of gene expression in relation to bird phenotypes may provide new knowledge and markers that should undoubtedly contribute to a sustainable poultry production.

Journal: Epigenomes
DOI: 10.3390/epigenomes1030020
Year: 2017

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