School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Aging disrupts cellular processes such as DNA repair and epigenetic control, leading to a gradual buildup of genomic alterations that can have detrimental effects in post-mitotic cells. Genomic alterations in regions of the genome that are rich in repetitive sequences, often termed "dark loci," are difficult to resolve using traditional sequencing approaches. New long-read technologies offer promising avenues for exploration of previously inaccessible regions of the genome. Using nanopore-based long-read whole-genome sequencing of DNA extracted from aged 18 human brains, we identify previously unreported structural variants and methylation patterns within repetitive DNA, focusing on transposable elements ("jumping genes") as crucial sources of variation, particularly in dark loci. Our analyses reveal potential somatic insertion variants and provides DNA methylation frequencies for many retrotransposon families. We further demonstrate the utility of this technology for the study of these challenging genomic regions in brains affected by Alzheimer's disease and identify significant differences in DNA methylation in pathologically normal brains versus those affected by Alzheimer's disease. Highlighting the power of this approach, we discover specific polymorphic retrotransposons with altered DNA methylation patterns. These retrotransposon loci have the potential to contribute to pathology, warranting further investigation in Alzheimer's disease research. Taken together, our study provides the first long-read DNA sequencing-based analysis of retrotransposon sequences, structural variants, and DNA methylation in the aging brain affected with Alzheimer's disease neuropathology.


University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Academic Level




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.