PerspectiveMolecular Biology

Mothers Setting Boundaries

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Science  23 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5474, pp. 2145-2146
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5474.2145

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Certain genes are only expressed at one allele, a phenomenon called imprinting. Although it is well established that one allele of certain imprinted genes is silenced through methylation, this does not appear to be the case for all imprinted genes. In a thoughtful Perspective, Thorvaldsen and Bartolomei discuss new findings showing that insertion of insulator elements (boundary regions) between the promoter of a gene and its enhancer (a sequence that boosts gene expression) may be another way in which genes are silenced during imprinting.