DNA methylation profile in beef cattle is influenced by additive genetics and age

André Mauric F. Ribeiro, Leticia P. Sanglard, Hiruni R. Wijesena, Daniel C. Ciobanu, Steve Horvath, Matthew L. Spangler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


DNA methylation (DNAm) has been considered a promising indicator of biological age in mammals and could be useful to increase the accuracy of phenotypic prediction in livestock. The objectives of this study were to estimate the heritability and age effects of site-specific DNAm (DNAm level) and cumulative DNAm across all sites (DNAm load) in beef cattle. Blood samples were collected from cows ranging from 217 to 3,192 days (0.6 to 8.7 years) of age (n = 136). All animals were genotyped, and DNAm was obtained using the Infinium array HorvathMammalMethylChip40. Genetic parameters for DNAm were obtained from an animal model based on the genomic relationship matrix, including the fixed effects of age and breed composition. Heritability estimates of DNAm levels ranged from 0.18 to 0.72, with a similar average across all regions and chromosomes. Heritability estimate of DNAm load was 0.45. The average age effect on DNAm level varied among genomic regions. The DNAm level across the genome increased with age in the promoter and 5′ UTR and decreased in the exonic, intronic, 3′ UTR, and intergenic regions. In addition, DNAm level increased with age in regions enriched in CpG and decreased in regions deficient in CpG. Results suggest DNAm profiles are influenced by both genetics and the environmental effect of age in beef cattle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12016
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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