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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Jun;19(3):290-7. Epub 2007 May 3.

Polycomb comes of age: genome-wide profiling of target sites.

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  • 1IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology GmbH, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 3, 1030 Vienna, Austria.


The Polycomb group proteins are best known for their role as epigenetic regulators of the fly homeotic (Hox) gene clusters, but it has long been clear that these well conserved proteins have many other targets. For example, they are vital for maintaining both the pluripotency of stem cells and the identity of differentiated cells. However, a comprehensive list of experimentally defined targets has been lacking. Six new studies use genome wide profiling techniques to map Polycomb targets in stem cells and differentiated cells in vertebrates and flies. The findings of these studies demand that we rethink some of our current assumptions about Polycomb function.

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