DNA methylation is a physiological mechanism regulating both gene expression and genomic stability. Abnormal DNA methylation is observed in neoplastic as well as degenerative disease, and may affect both the whole genome and specific genes. Aberrant DNA methylation has been recently associated to the exposure to carcinogenic chemical compounds. The characterization of DNA methylation abnormalities by modern molecular biology methods may allow the development of new molecular biomarkers of early biological effects.
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