Biochem Biophys Rep 2015 Jul 10;2:143-152. Epub 2015 Jun 10.
Leidos Inc., 10260 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, United States.
Background: Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have numerous biomedical, agricultural and environmental applications. Development of accurate methods for the detection of GMOs is a prerequisite for the identification and control of authorized and unauthorized release of these engineered organisms into the environment and into the food chain. Current detection methods are unable to detect uncharacterized GMOs, since either the DNA sequence of the transgene or the amino acid sequence of the protein must be known for DNA-based or immunological-based detection, respectively.
Methods: Here we describe the application of an epigenetics-based approach for the detection of mammalian GMOs analysis of chromatin structural changes occurring in the host nucleus upon the insertion of foreign or endogenous DNA.
Results: Immunological methods combined with DNA next generation sequencing enabled direct interrogation of chromatin structure and identification of insertions of various size foreign (human or viral) DNA sequences, DNA sequences often used as genome modification tools (. viral sequences, transposon elements), or endogenous DNA sequences into the nuclear genome of a model animal organism.
Conclusions: The results provide a proof-of-concept that epigenetic approaches can be used to detect the insertion of endogenous and exogenous sequences into the genome of higher organisms where the method of genetic modification, the sequence of inserted DNA, and the exact genomic insertion site(s) are unknown.
General Significance: Measurement of chromatin dynamics as a sensor for detection of genomic manipulation and, more broadly, organism exposure to environmental or other factors affecting the epigenomic landscape are discussed.