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Science. 2001 Aug 10;293(5532):1086-9.

Imprinting and the epigenetic asymmetry between parental genomes.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DY, UK. afsmith@mole.bio.cam.ac.uk


Genomic imprinting confers a developmental asymmetry on the parental genomes, through epigenetic modifications in the germ line and embryo. These heritable modifications regulate the monoallelic activity of parental alleles resulting in their functional differences during development. Specific cis-acting regulatory elements associated with imprinted genes carry modifications involving chromatin structural changes and DNA methylation. Some of these modifications are initiated in the germ line. Comparative genomic analysis at imprinted domains is emerging as a powerful tool for the identification of conserved elements amenable to more detailed functional analysis, and for providing insight into the emergence of imprinting during the evolution of mammalian species. Genomic imprinting therefore provides a model system for the analysis of the epigenetic control of genome function.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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