BMC Bioinformatics 2017; 18(1): 553 -

Redundancy analysis allows improved detection of methylation changes in large genomic regions.

Ruiz-Arenas C, González JR
"DNA methylation is an epigenetic process that regulates gene expression. Methylation can be modified by environmental exposures and changes in the methylation patterns have been associated with diseases. Methylation microarrays measure methylation levels at more than 450,000 CpGs in a single experiment, and the most common analysis strategy is to perform a single probe analysis to find methylation probes associated with the outcome of interest. However, methylation changes usually occur at the regional level: for example, genomic structural variants can affect methylation patterns in regions up to several megabases in length. Existing DMR methods provide lists of Differentially Methylated Regions (DMRs) of up to only few kilobases in length, and cannot check if a target region is differentially methylated. Therefore, these methods are not suitable to evaluate methylation changes in large regions. To address these limitations, we developed a new DMR approach based on redundancy analysis (RDA) that assesses whether a target region is differentially methylated."