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Epigenetics: a possible role in acute and transgenerational regulation of dairy cow milk production

  • K. Singh (a1), A. J. Molenaar (a1), K. M. Swanson (a1), B. Gudex (a2), J. A. Arias (a2), R. A. Erdman (a3) and K. Stelwagen (a4)...


A potential role for epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of mammary function in the dairy cow is emerging. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in genome function that occur because of chemical changes rather than DNA sequence changes. DNA methylation is an epigenetic event that results in the silencing of gene expression and may be passed on to the next generation. However, recent studies investigating different physiological states and changes in milk protein gene expression suggest that DNA methylation may also play an acute, regulatory, role in gene transcription. This overview will highlight the role of DNA methylation in the silencing of milk protein gene expression during mastitis and mammary involution. Moreover, environmental factors such as nutrition may induce epigenetic modifications of gene expression. The current research investigating the possibility of in utero, hence cross-generational, epigenetic modifications in dairy cows will also be discussed. Understanding how the mammary gland responds to environmental cues provides a potential to enhance milk production not only of the dairy cow but also of her daughter.


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Epigenetics: a possible role in acute and transgenerational regulation of dairy cow milk production

  • K. Singh (a1), A. J. Molenaar (a1), K. M. Swanson (a1), B. Gudex (a2), J. A. Arias (a2), R. A. Erdman (a3) and K. Stelwagen (a4)...


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