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Nature. 1991 Jan 3;349(6304):82-4.

Localization of the X inactivation centre on the human X chromosome in Xq13.

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Department of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305.


X-chromosome inactivation results in the strictly cis-limited inactivation of many but not all genes on one of the two X chromosomes during early development in somatic cells of mammalian females. One feature of virtually all models of X inactivation is the existence of an X-inactivation centre (XIC) required in cis for inactivation to occur. This concept predicts that all structurally abnormal X chromosomes capable of being inactivated have in common a defineable region of the X chromosome. Here we report an analysis of several such rearranged human X chromosomes and define a minimal region of overlap. The results are consistent with models invoking a single XIC and provide a molecular foothold for cloning and analysing the XIC region. One of the markers that defines this region is the XIST gene, which is expressed specifically from inactive, but not active, X chromosomes. The localization of the XIST gene to the XIC region on the human X chromosome implicates XIST in some aspect of X inactivation.

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