Transposable elements (TEs) comprise almost half of primate genomes and their aberrant regulation can result in deleterious effects. In pluripotent stem cells, rapidly-evolving KRAB-ZNF genes target TEs for silencing by H3K9me3. To investigate the evolution of TE silencing, we performed H3K9me3 ChIP-seq experiments in induced pluripotent stem cells from ten human and seven chimpanzee individuals. We identified four million orthologous TEs and found the SVA and ERV families to be marked most frequently by H3K9me3. We found little evidence of inter-species differences in TE silencing, with as many as 82% of putatively silenced TEs marked at similar levels in humans and chimpanzees. TEs that are preferentially silenced in one species are a similar age to those silenced in both species, and are not more likely to be associated with expression divergence of nearby orthologous genes. Our data suggest limited species-specificity of TE silencing across six million years of primate evolution.
- Yoav Gilad
- Michelle C Ward
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Patricia J Wittkopp, Reviewing Editor, University of Michigan, United States
- Received: October 28, 2017
- Accepted: April 11, 2018
- Accepted Manuscript published: April 12, 2018 (version 1)
© 2018, Ward et al.
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