Genevieve Housman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona State U.

Grant number

Gr. 9310

Approve Date

April 21, 2016

Project Title

Housman, Genevieve A., Arizona State U., Tempe, AZ - To aid research on 'Assessment of DNA Methylation Patterns in Primate Skeletal Tissues,' supervised by Dr. Anne C. Stone

GENEVIEVE A. HOUSMAN, then a graduate student at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded funding in April 2016 to aid research on “Assessment of DNA Methylation Patterns in Primate Skeletal Tissues,” supervised by Dr. Anne C. Stone. This study identifies intra- and inter-specific variation in primate skeletal tissue methylation to test whether specific features of skeletal form are related to specific variations in methylation. Specifically, methylation arrays and gene-specific methylation sequencing were used to identify DNA methylation patterns in femoral trabecular bone and cartilage of several nonhuman primate species. Samples include baboons ( Papio spp. ), macaques (Macaca mulatta), vervets ( Chlorocebus aethiops ), chimpanzees ( Pan troglodyte s), and marmosets ( Callithrix jacchus ). Within baboons, intra-specific variations in methylation patterns were identified across skeletal tissue differences (bone vs. cartilage), age cohort differences (adults vs. juveniles), and skeletal disease state differences (healthy vs. osteoarthritis), and some of the identified patterns are evolutionarily conserved with those known in humans. Additionally, in all nonhuman primate species, intra-specific methylation variation in association with nonpathological femur morphologies was assessed. Lastly, inter-specific changes in methylation were evaluated among all nonhuman primate taxa and used to provide a phylogenetic framework for methylation changes previously identified in the hominin lineage. Overall, findings from this work reveal how skeletal DNA methylation patterns vary within and among primate species and relate to skeletal phenotypes, and together they inform our understanding of epigenetic regulation and complex skeletal trait evolution in primates.