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Trends Genet. 2012 Aug;28(8):374-81. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.03.011. Epub 2012 Apr 18.

Replication timing and its emergence from stochastic processes.

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Department of Physics, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Trends Genet. 2014 Apr;30(4):160.


The temporal organization of DNA replication has puzzled cell biologists since before the mechanism of replication was understood. The realization that replication timing correlates with important features, such as transcription, chromatin structure and genome evolution, and is misregulated in cancer and aging has only deepened the fascination. Many ideas about replication timing have been proposed, but most have been short on mechanistic detail. However, recent work has begun to elucidate basic principles of replication timing. In particular, mathematical modeling of replication kinetics in several systems has shown that the reproducible replication timing patterns seen in population studies can be explained by stochastic origin firing at the single-cell level. This work suggests that replication timing need not be controlled by a hierarchical mechanism that imposes replication timing from a central regulator, but instead results from simple rules that affect individual origins.

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