Genome-wide methylation profile following prenatal and postnatal dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in pigs

R. L. Boddicker, J. E. Koltes, E. R. Fritz-Waters, L. Koesterke, N. Weeks, T. Yin, V. Mani, D. Nettleton, J. M. Reecy, L. H. Baumgard, J. D. Spencer, N. K. Gabler, J. W. Ross*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine how prenatal and postnatal dietary omega-3 fatty acids alter white blood cell (leukocyte) DNA methylation of offspring. Fifteen gilts (n = 5 per treatment) were selected from one of three treatments: (i) control diet throughout gestation, lactation and nursery phase (CON); (ii) algal omega-3 fatty acid supplementation enriched in EPA and DHA (Gromega) fed throughout gestation, lactation and nursery phase (Cn3); or (iii) Gromega supplementation maternally, during gestation and lactation only, and control diet during the nursery phase (Mn3). At 11 weeks of age and after 8 weeks of post-weaning nursery feeding, buffy coat genomic DNA was subjected to methyl CpG binding protein sequencing. The methylation enriched profile mapped to 26% of the porcine genome. On chromosome 4, a 27.7-kb differentially methylated region downstream of RUNX1T1 was hypomethylated in the Mn3 and Cn3 groups by 91.6% and 85.0% respectively compared to CON pigs. Conversely, hypermethylation was detected in intergenic regions of chromosomes 4 and 12. Regulatory impact factor and differential hubbing methods were used to identify pathways that were coordinately regulated by methylation due to feeding EPA and DHA during pregnancy. Despite limited ability to detect differential methylation, we describe methods that allow the identification of coordinated epigenetic regulation that could not otherwise be detected from subtle single locus changes in methylation. These data provide evidence of novel epigenetic regulation by maternal and early life supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids that may have implications to growth and inflammatory processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-671
Number of pages14
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • eicosapentaenoic acid
  • epigenetics
  • maternal
  • swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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