CpG island

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CpG island is a region of DNA with higher than usual CG sequence content and mostly found in promoter regions[1]. Usually unmethylated, CpG islands are important in epigenetic control of gene expression. Methylation of CpG islands is associated with silencing transcription. Methylation of these regions can cause cancer and other disease states[2]. As well as occurring in malignant tissue, methylation of CpGs can also occur in normal tissues and is known to function in X inactivation and genomic imprinting. A potential role in transcriptional regulation during cell specification has recently been shown due to differences in methylation of the islands during these stages. Restriction endonucleases (e.g. HpaII) that have CG in their recognition sequences can be used for CpG island identification[3][4].


  1. http://www.everythingbio.com/glos/definition.php?word=CpG+island
  2. Bock C, Paulsen M, Tierling S, Mikeska T, Lengauer T, et al. (2006) CpG Island Methylation in Human Lymphocytes Is Highly Correlated with DNA Sequence, Repeats, and Predicted DNA Structure. PLoS Genet 2(3): e26. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020026
  3. Harvey Lodish, Arnold Berk, S Lawrence Zipursky, Paul Matsudaira, David Baltimore, and James Darnell (2000). Molecular Cell Biology. 4th ed. New York: W.H.Freeman. p.366.
  4. De la Rosa,MA.Prague Special Issue: Functional Genomics and Proteomics.CpG islands – ‘A rough guide’.583(11).1713-1720

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