Worm Breeder's Gazette 7(2): 26
These abstracts should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.
Methylation of DNA has been implicated in gene regulation. About 4% of the cytosine residues are methylated in mammalian DNAs, and some specific changes in methylation are correlated with changes in gene activity (e.g., McGee & Ginder, Nature 280, 419, 1979). On the other hand, it was recently reported that Drosophila DNA contains no 5- methylcytosine (News & Views, Nature 290, 363, 1981). We undertook to determine whether C. elegans DNA contains methylated bases by reversed-phase high pressure liquid chromatography of L1 DNA hydrolyzed to free bases with formic acid. We detected no 5- methylcytosine or N5-methyl adenine. By comparison with hydrolyzed calf thymus DNA run on the same column, we can place an upper limit for 5-methylcytosine in C. elegans DNA at about 0.01% of total nucleotides, corresponding to <0.04% of cytosine residues.