It is still unclear whether or not parent-of-origin-dependent differential methylation observed in some transgenes reflects genomic imprinting of endogenous genes. We have characterized a transgene locus showing such methylation imprinting together with the corresponding native chromosome region. We show that only part of the transgene is affected by methylation imprinting and the methylation pattern is established before early prophase I during spermatogenesis. Interestingly, the native genomic region, which is mapped to the proximal chromosome 11, shows no evidence of methylation imprinting but displays heritable, strain-specific type of allelic methylation differences. The results demonstrate that transgenes do not necessarily reflect the methylation status of either the surrounding or corresponding chromosome region. In addition, inherited type of allelic methylation variations previously described in human may be widespread in mammals.

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