Effects of paternal methionine supplementation on sperm DNA methylation and embryo transcriptome in sheep

Jessica Townsend, Camila U. Braz, Todd Taylor, Hasan Khatib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental effects on gene expression and offspring development can be mediated by epigenetic modifications. It is well established that maternal diet influences DNA methylation patterns and phenotypes in the offspring; however, the epigenetic effects of paternal diet on developing offspring warrants further investigation. Here, we examined how a prepubertal methionine-enriched paternal diet affected sperm DNA methylation and its subsequent effects on embryo gene expression. Three treatment and three control rams were bred to seven ewes, and blastocysts were flushed for RNA extraction. Semen was collected from all rams and submitted for reduced representation bisulfite sequencing analysis. In total, 166 differentially methylated cytosines were identified in the sperm from treatment versus control rams. Nine genes were found to be differentially expressed in embryos produced from treatment versus control rams, and seven differentially methylated cytosines in the sperm were found to be highly correlated with gene expression in the embryos. Our results demonstrate that sperm methylation differences induced by diet may influence fetal programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdvac029
JournalEnvironmental Epigenetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • embryo transcriptomics
  • fetal programming
  • nutritional epigenetics
  • paternal effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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