PerspectiveMolecular Biology

An RNA-Guided Pathway for the Epigenome

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Science  27 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5590, pp. 2215-2218
DOI: 10.1126/science.1077903

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How does the cell maintain the huge areas of the genome containing DNA repeats in its heterochromatin form? As Thomas Jenuwein discusses in his indepth Perspective, new clues have arrived from the fission yeast (Hall et al.) and the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena. These organisms reveal that small heterogeneous RNAs formed at DNA repeats in the nucleus are important for initiating and maintaining heterochromatin.