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Genet Res. 1990 Oct-Dec;56(2-3):99-106.

The search for the mouse X-chromosome inactivation centre.

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  • 1Section of Comparative Biology, Clinical Research Centre, Harrow, Middlesex, UK.


The phenomenon of X-chromosome inactivation in female mammals, whereby one of the two X chromosome present in each cell of the female embryo is inactivated early in development, was first described by Mary Lyon in 1961. Nearly 30 years later, the mechanism of X-chromosome inactivation remains unknown. Strong evidence has accumulated over the years, however, for the involvement of a major switch or inactivation centre on the mouse X chromosome. Identification of the inactivation centre at the molecular level would be an important step in understanding the mechanism of X-inactivation. In this paper we review the evidence for the existence and location of the X-inactivation centre on the mouse X-chromosome, present data on the molecular genetic mapping of this region, and describe ongoing strategies we are using to attempt to identify the inactivation centre at the molecular level.

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