Changes in gene regulation are thought to play an important role in speciation and adaptation in primates. However, we still know relatively little about the mechanisms underlying regulatory evolution. In particular, the extent to which epigenetic modifications underlie gene expression differences between primates is not yet known. To address this, I performed gene expression profiling with RNAseq and I identified genomic regions associated with multiple features of the chromatin landscape using ChIPseq in lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from human, chimpanzee, and rhesus macaque individuals. Across genes within each species, similar patterns of enrichment near transcription start sites and relationships with expression levels for each feature were observed. Interestingly, I also observed an enrichment of inter-species differences in chromatin features at the transcription start sites of genes that are differentially expressed between species. I estimate that changes in chromatin landscape explain up to 37% of variation in expression level differences between the LCLs from humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques. These results suggest an important role for changes in epigenetic and other chromatin features in primate regulatory evolution.
|Commitee:||Nobrega, Marcelo A., Pritchard, Jonathan K., Ruvinsky, Ilya|
|School:||The University of Chicago|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Chromatin, Epigenetics, Evolution, Gene expression, Genetics, Histone modifications, Primates|
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