Look Like Your Dad? Some Genes Preferentially Expressed From Fathers

Fernando Pardo-Manuel De Villena, PhD Professor and Associate Chair for Research Department of Genetics School of Medicine University of North Carolina at Chapel H MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Fernando Pardo-Manuel De Villena, PhD

Professor and Associate Chair for Research
Department of Genetics
School of Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We set out to identify mutations that affect diseases through changes in gene expression. Our first major finding is that some mouse populations such as the Collabaorative Cross are exceptionally good models to achieve this goal.
We also wanted to sort out an ongoing controversy about the number, location and type of genes that are differentially expressed when you inherit them from your mom or your dad (so called imprinted genes). We conclude that to some extent both sides were right; there are only a limited number of imprinted genes in the classical sense but there are also hundreds or thousands of genes that are preferentially expressed from the father.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Parent of origin effects in human genetic studies are frequently ignored, our results suggest that this may bias our conclusions.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Unexpected discoveries such as the parental effect of gene expression described in our Nature Genetics paper frequently rely on model organisms, in our case the house mouse. These studies are critical because the probability of making these initial findings in humans is very low due to a combination of experimental and financial constraints. Once you discover something important in mice you can design a targeted experiment to test its presence and impact in humans.

The second recommendation for researchers interested in genetics and genomics is to expand your search from the gene level to chromosomes or the entire genome. Some effects are difficult to observe on a gene by gene basis but become apparent on global analysis.

Citation:

Crowley JJ1, Zhabotynsky V1, Sun W2, Huang S3, Pakatci IK3, Kim Y1, Wang JR3, Morgan AP4, Calaway JD4, Aylor DL1, Yun Z1, Bell TA4, Buus RJ4, Calaway ME4, Didion JP4, Gooch TJ4, Hansen SD4, Robinson NN4, Shaw GD4, Spence JS1, Quackenbush CR1, Barrick CJ1, Nonneman RJ1, Kim K5, Xenakis J5, Xie Y1, Valdar W6, Lenarcic AB1, Wang W3, Welsh CE3, Fu CP3, Zhang Z3, Holt J3, Guo Z3, Threadgill DW7, Tarantino LM8, Miller DR4, Zou F5, McMillan L3, Sullivan PF9, Pardo-Manuel de Villena F4.

Analyses of allele-specific gene expression in highly divergent mouse crosses identifies pervasive allelic imbalance.

Nat Genet. 2015 Mar 2. doi: 10.1038/ng.3222.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fernando Pardo-Manuel De Villena, Ph (2015). Look Like Your Dad? Some Genes Preferentially Expressed From Fathers