Transposable elements (TEs) comprise almost half of primate genomes and their aberrant regulation can result in deleterious effects. In pluripotent stem cells, rapidly evolving KRAB-ZNF genes target TEs for silencing by H3K9me3. To investigate the evolution of TE silencing, we performed H3K9me3 ChIP-seq experiments in induced pluripotent stem cells from 10 human and 7 chimpanzee individuals. We identified four million orthologous TEs and found the SVA and ERV families to be marked most frequently by H3K9me3. We found little evidence of inter-species differences in TE silencing, with as many as 82% of putatively silenced TEs marked at similar levels in humans and chimpanzees. TEs that are preferentially silenced in one species are a similar age to those silenced in both species and are not more likely to be associated with expression divergence of nearby orthologous genes. Our data suggest limited species-specificity of TE silencing across 6 million years of primate evolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)