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Metastable epialleles are stable in their instability

Metastable epialleles refer to loci with variable methylation states among individuals without underlying genetic differences. Although these loci have generally been assumed to be vulnerable to environmental influence, a new study reports their remarkable metastable epigenetic robustness toward a range of physiological, chemical and dietary disruptions in mammals.

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Fig. 1: VM-IAPs acquire DNA methylation in a probabilistic fashion during early development, before germ-lineage formation, thus leading to interindividual differences in genetically identical mice, with high intraindividual methylation concordance across tissues.


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Correspondence to Deborah Bourc’his.

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Bourc’his, D. Metastable epialleles are stable in their instability. Nat Genet 53, 1121–1123 (2021).

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