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Development. 2007 May;134(10):1823-31. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

Meiotic sex chromosome inactivation.

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  • 1Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics, MRC NIMR, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


X chromosome inactivation is most commonly studied in the context of female mammalian development, where it performs an essential role in dosage compensation. However, another form of X-inactivation takes place in the male, during spermatogenesis, as germ cells enter meiosis. This second form of X-inactivation, called meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) has emerged as a novel paradigm for studying the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. New studies have revealed that MSCI is a special example of a more general mechanism called meiotic silencing of unsynapsed chromatin (MSUC), which silences chromosomes that fail to pair with their homologous partners and, in doing so, may protect against aneuploidy in subsequent generations. Furthermore, failure in MSCI is emerging as an important etiological factor in meiotic sterility.

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