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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1992 Apr;2(2):286-92.

Silencing: the establishment and inheritance of stable, repressed transcription states.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Silencing refers to a particular type of transcriptional repression characterized by the formation of a genetically heritable, repressed transcriptional state. Examples of silencing include position-effect variegation, X-chromosome inactivation, and the repression of the silent mating-type gene loci in yeast. Recent discoveries suggest that silencing in yeast, like silencing in larger eukaryotes, results from a particular chromatin structure that defines a chromosomal domain. In addition, a chromosomal origin of DNA replication is required for silencing in yeast, suggesting that DNA replication plays a role in forming functional chromosomal domains.

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