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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Jun;19(3):257-65. Epub 2007 Apr 27.

Germline histone dynamics and epigenetics.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA.


Germ cells have the same DNA sequence as somatic cells, but the processes that act on their chromatin are different. Germline chromatin undergoes a series of dramatic remodeling events during the life cycle of an organism. Different aspects of germline chromatin have been dissected in recent years, such as differences between the sex chromosomes and autosomes in histone variants and modifications. Excitingly, histone dynamics have recently been implicated in imprinted X inactivation and genomic imprinting processes that are independent of DNA methylation. Taken together with observations of core histone retention in mature sperm of diverse animals, histones have become prime candidates for mediating germline epigenetic inheritance.

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