Sunday, September 18, 2011
This new study from Cold Spring Harbor shows evidence that methylation has "co-evolved in a kind of molecular slow-dance over the 6 million years since humans and chimps diverged from a common ancestor." The authors explain that "by looking very closely at methylation patterns within individuals and across species, one can begin to piece together previously hidden stories about how species grew apart via evolution." They support the idea that "methylation changes could drive changes in DNA sequence." Since many of the papers we read this week looked strictly at the genetic code, this focus on methylation is an interesting perspective when considering evolutionary changes.