A Small-RNA Perspective on Gametogenesis, Fertilization, and Early Zygotic Development

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Science  29 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6004, pp. 617-622
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194776

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Transient populations of cis- and trans-acting small RNAs have recently emerged as key regulators of extensive epigenetic changes taking place during periconception, which encompasses gametogenesis, fertilization, and early zygotic development. These small RNAs are not only important to maintain genome integrity in the gametes and zygote, but they also actively contribute to assessing the compatibility of parental genomes at fertilization and to promoting long-term memory of the zygotic epigenetic landscape by affecting chromatin. Striking parallels exist in the biogenesis and modus operandi of these molecules among diverse taxa, unraveling universal themes of small-RNA–mediated epigenetic reprogramming during sexual reproduction.

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