Are there any differences between conjoined twin fetuses at the molecular level?
We collected skin tissues from 15+4 weeks’ gestation thoracopagus conjoined twins. The skin tissues were collected from the thigh side of conjoined twins after the abortion procedure. All specimens were obtained after written informed patient consent and were fully anonymized. All relevant ethical regulations were followed. Every specimen was performed multiomics sequencing analysis to determine associations among the DNA methylome, transcriptome and mutations in the exon regions in the conjoined twins.
The global methylation pattern was similar in the two fetuses of conjoined twins, while local regions such as CGI, enhancers and repeating elements showed significant differences. The conjoined twins also differed in genes related to growth and development, cellular component morphogenesis, and cellular stress, both in terms of DNA methylation levels and gene expression levels. Exon data analysis revealed that the common mutations in conjoined twins mainly occurred in neural development, lipid metabolism, and microtubule morphogenesis. Specific mutations were associated with cellular component biosynthesis, behavior, and germ cell development.
Conjoined twins were similar to each other globally, but there were significant differences related to growth and development, cellular component morphogenesis and cellular stress. Our work elaborated the molecular features of conjoined twins for the first time, which may lay the foundation for future exploration of the mechanism of conjoined twins.
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Yidong Chen is an assistant research fellow at the Center for Reproductive Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking University Third Hospital, China. She has been working in the field of obstetrics and gynecology for many years and has published many SCI papers with high scores.
Accepted: March 2, 2023
Received in revised form: February 20, 2023
Received: October 19, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Journal Pre-Proof
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