DNA Methylation Analysis

There is evidence that aversive life events leave epigenetic traces in the DNA. Therefore, DNA methylation has been increasingly examined in the context of psychiatric and/or behavioral studies in recent years. At first this was done using bisulfite conversion, cloning, and sanger sequencing of individual clones. More current approaches also use pyrosequencing to investigate DNA methylation.

In order to optimize the DNA methylation analysis, to improve sensitivity and accuracy, and to achieve higher coverage at lower costs our laboratory has recently developed a method to detect DNA methylation performing targeted bisulfite deep sequencing. This highly flexible NGS-based approach can be used for targeted DNA methylation analysis of selected candidate genes and for validation of hits derived from whole-genome or array-based approaches. It enables high-throughput analysis and offers the possibility of parallel investigation of many candidate genes in the same run. We expect this method to close the gap between coverage and precision in epigenetic research of stress-associated phenotypes.