During mammalian development, it is essential that the proper epigenetic state is established across the entire genome in each differentiated cell. To date, little is known about the mechanism for establishing epigenetic modifications of individual genes during the course of cellular differentiation. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of embryonic stem cells by restriction landmark genomic scanning provides information about cell type- and tissue-specific DNA methylation profiles at tissue-specific methylated regions associated with developmental processes. It also sheds light on DNA methylation alterations following fetal exposure to chemical agents. In addition, analysis of embryonic stem cells deficient in epigenetic regulators will contribute to revealing the mechanism for establishing DNA methylation profiles and the interplay between DNA methylation and other epigenetic modifications.
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