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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2005 Apr;15(2):191-9.

Controlling DNA methylation: many roads to one modification.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Department of Biology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.


Genetic, biochemical and cytological studies on DNA methylation in several eukaryotic organisms have resulted in leaps of understanding in the past three years. Discoveries of mechanistic links between DNA methylation and histone methylation, and between these processes and RNA interference (RNAi) machineries have reinvigorated the field. The details of the connections between DNA methylation, histone modifications and RNA silencing remain to be elucidated, but it is already clear that no single pathway accounts for all DNA methylation found in eukaryotes. Rather, different taxa use one or more of several general mechanisms to control methylation. Despite recent progress, classic questions remain, including: What are the signals for DNA methylation? Are "de novo" and "maintenance" methylation truly separate processes? How is DNA methylation regulated?

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