Campus Units

Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

Document Type


Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Scientific Reports






Gene and genome duplication fosters genetic novelty, but redundant gene copies would undergo mutational decay unless preserved via selective or neutral forces. Molecular mechanisms mediating duplicate preservation remain incompletely understood. Several recent studies showed an association between DNA methylation and expression divergence of duplicated genes and suggested a role of epigenetic mechanism in duplicate retention. Here, we compare genome-wide gene-body CG methylation (BCGM) and duplicate gene expression between a rice mutant null for OsMet1-2(a major CG methytransferase in rice) and its isogenic wild-type. We demonstrate a causal link between BCGM divergence and expression difference of duplicate copies. Interestingly, the higher- and lower-expressing copies of duplicates as separate groups show broadly different responses with respect to direction of expression alteration upon loss of BCGM. A role for BCGM in conditioning expression divergence between copies of duplicates generally holds for duplicates generated by whole genome duplication (WGD) or by small-scale duplication processes. However, differences are evident among these categories, including a higher proportion of WGD duplicates manifesting expression alteration, and differential propensities to lose BCGM by the higher- and lower-expression copies in the mutant. Together, our results support the notion that differential epigenetic marking may facilitate long-term retention of duplicate genes.


This article is published as Wang, Xutong, Zhibin Zhang, Tiansi Fu, Lanjuan Hu, Chunming Xu, Lei Gong, Jonathan F. Wendel, and Bao Liu. "Gene-body CG methylation and divergent expression of duplicate genes in rice." Scientific Reports 7 (2017). 10.1038/s41598-017-02860-4. Posted with permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright Owner

The Author(s)



File Format