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Science. 1995 Dec 8;270(5242):1610-3.

Gametic imprinting in mammals.

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Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria.


Embryonic development in mammals is distinct from that in other vertebrates because it depends on a small number of imprinted genes that are specially expressed from either the maternal or paternal genome. Why mammals are uniquely dependent on sexual reproduction and how this dependency is dictated at a molecular level are questions that have been intensively investigated during the past 2 years. Gene inactivation experiments have confirmed predictions that imprinted genes regulate embryonic and placental growth and that DNA methylation is part of the imprinting mechanism. Despite these considerable achievements, the reason why imprinted hemizygosity is used as a mechanism to regulate the intrauterine growth of mammalian embryos remains elusive.

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