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Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Aug;4(8):626-37.

The power of the 3' UTR: translational control and development.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 445 Henry Mall, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Many crucial decisions, such as the location and timing of cell division, cell-fate determination, and embryonic axes establishment, are made in the early embryo, a time in development when there is often little or no transcription. For this reason, the control of variation in gene expression in the early embryo often relies on post-transcriptional control of maternal genes. Although the early embryo is rife with translational control, controlling mRNA activity is also important in other developmental processes, such as stem-cell proliferation, sex determination, neurogenesis and erythropoiesis.

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