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Annu Rev Genet. 2013;47:187-208. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-110711-155527. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Genomic imprinting: insights from plants.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142; email:


Imprinted gene expression--the biased expression of alleles dependent on their parent of origin--is an important type of epigenetic gene regulation in flowering plants and mammals. In plants, genes are imprinted primarily in the endosperm, the triploid placenta-like tissue that surrounds and nourishes the embryo during its development. Differential allelic expression is correlated with active DNA demethylation by DNA glycosylases and repressive targeting by the Polycomb group proteins. Imprinted gene expression is one consequence of a large-scale remodeling to the epigenome, primarily directed at transposable elements, that occurs in gametes and seeds. This remodeling could be important for maintaining the epigenome in the embryo as well as for establishing gene imprinting.

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