Gametic Imprinting in Mammals

Science  08 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5242, pp. 1610-1613
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5242.1610

Abstract

Embryonic development in mammals is distinct from that in other vertebrates because it depends on a small number of imprinted genes that are specifically 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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