Sharing a Placenta is Associated With a Greater Similarity in DNA Methylation in Monochorionic Versus Dichorionic Twin Pars in Blood at Age 14

Masato Bui, Beben Benyamin, Sonia Shah, Anjali K. Henders, Nicholas G. Martin, Grant W. Montgomery, Allan F. McRae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Monozygotic (MZ) twins provide a natural system for investigating developmental plasticity and the potential epigenetic origins of disease. A major difference in the intrauterine environment between MZ pairs is whether they share a common placenta or have separate placentas. Using DNA methylation measured at >400,000 points in the genome on the Illumina HumanMethylation450 array, we demonstrate that the co-twins of MZ pairs (average age of 14) that shared a common placenta (n = 18 pairs) have more similar DNA methylation levels in blood throughout the genome relative to those with separate placentas (n = 16 pairs). Functional annotation of the genomic regions that show significantly different correlation between monochorionic (MC) and dichorionic (DC) MZ pairs found an over-representation of genes involved in the regulation of transcription, neuronal development, and cellular differentiation. These results support the idea that prenatal environmental exposures may have a lasting effect on an individual's epigenetic landscape, and the potential for these changes to have functional consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-685
Number of pages6
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • chorionicity
  • monozygotic twins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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