A behavioral memory's lifetime represents multiple molecular lifetimes, suggesting the necessity for a self-perpetuating signal. One candidate is DNA methylation, a transcriptional repression mechanism that maintains cellular memory throughout development. We found that persistent, gene-specific cortical hypermethylation was induced in rats by a single, hippocampus-dependent associative learning experience and pharmacologic inhibition of methylation 1 month after learning disrupted remote memory. We propose that the adult brain utilizes DNA methylation to preserve long-lasting memories. © 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.