PerspectiveMolecular Biology

Mixing or Not Mixing

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Science  02 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5974, pp. 56-57
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188653

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Beyond DNA information, the organization of the proteins and DNA that constitute chromatin represents a means to regulate genome function (1). The inheritance and maintenance of the DNA sequence has been explained by a semiconservative mechanism of replication in which a complementary new strand of DNA is synthesized along each parental strand, resulting in an inherited double-stranded molecule that contains old and new DNA. But how is the inheritance of epigenetic traits—modifications of chromatin proteins (histones) and DNA that do not alter the sequence—affected by dynamic changes in chromatin organization during eukaryotic cell division? On page 94 of this issue, Xu et al. (2) explore how parental (old) and newly synthesized histones associate after replication.