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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Apr;86(8):2617-21.

Illegitimate transcription: transcription of any gene in any cell type.

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Unité de Recherches en Génétique et Pathologie Moléculaires, Unité 129, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, CHU Cochin, Paris, France.


Using in vitro amplification of cDNA by the polymerase chain reaction, we have detected spliced transcripts of various tissue-specific genes (genes for anti-Müllerian hormone, beta-globin, aldolase A, and factor VIIIc) in human nonspecific cells, such as fibroblasts, hepatoma cells, and lymphoblasts. In rats, erythroid- and liver-type pyruvate kinase transcripts were also detected in brain, lung, and muscle. The abundance of these "illegitimate" transcripts is very low; yet, their existence and the possibility of amplifying them by the cDNA polymerase chain reaction provide a powerful tool to analyze pathological transcripts of any tissue-specific gene by using any accessible cell.

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