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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1997 Apr;7(2):274-80.

The (epi)genetic control of mammalian X-chromosome inactivation.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.


In mammals, the X chromosome is uniquely capable of complete inactivation. Research in the past two years has validated the long-held hypothesis that the 'X-inactivation center' (Xic) controls events of X inactivation and that its resident gene Xist is not only required but is at least partially responsible for the cis-restriction of X inactivation. Progress has also been made in identifying genes within the Xic. Although Xist remains the only known required element, evidence now suggests that a separate element for X counting must exist and that the Xic may be entirely contained within a 450 kb sequence. This small region may be sufficient for both initiation and establishment of X inactivation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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