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Epigenetic status of human embryonic stem cells


We examined the allele-specific expression of six imprinted genes and the methylation profiles of three imprinting control regions to assess the epigenetic status of human embryonic stem cells. We identified generally monoallelic gene expression and normal methylation patterns. During prolonged passage, one cell line became biallelic with respect to H19, but without loss of the gametic methylation imprint. These data argue for a substantial degree of epigenetic stability in human embryonic stem cells.

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Figure 1: Allele-specific expression of imprinted genes.
Figure 2: Bisulphite sequencing of DMRs of imprinted genes.

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We thank P.W. Andrews for providing H7 cell extracts and members of our laboratories, especially M. Alexander and N. Youngson, for technical help. This work was supported by a Medical Research Council Studentship (P.J.R.-G.) and a Medical Research Council International Appointments Grant (R.A.P.).

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Correspondence to Peter J Rugg-Gunn.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Fig. 1

Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of H19 and IGF2 expression in mid-passage (monoallelic) and high-passage (biallelic) H9 hESC. (PDF 121 kb)

Supplementary Table 1

Full dataset of allele-specific imprinted gene expression in hESC. (PDF 57 kb)

Supplementary Table 2

Primer sequences and polymorphism information. (PDF 137 kb)

Supplementary Methods (PDF 158 kb)

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Rugg-Gunn, P., Ferguson-Smith, A. & Pedersen, R. Epigenetic status of human embryonic stem cells. Nat Genet 37, 585–587 (2005).

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