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© 2018 Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. In the current study, we characterized the expression and histone modification profiles of the alternative promoters found within imprinted Igf2r, Mest, Zac1, Peg3, Snrpn and non-imprinted Myc loci. In terms of expression pattern, the alternative promoters are highly tissue-specific, which is in a stark contrast to the ubiquitous expression of the corresponding main promoters. The alternative promoters are associated with the histone modification mark H3K4me1, but not with H3K4me3, which is frequently associated with the main promoters. Phylogenetic analyses also indicated that the majority of the alternative promoters are unique to the mammalian lineage, further suggesting the recent formation of these promoters during mammalian evolution. Overall, this study suggests that the alternative promoters of imprinted loci may have been derived from enhancers in recent evolutionary times and co-evolved with the genomic imprinting mechanism.

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