Imprint stability and plasticity during development
There have been a number of recent insights in the area of genomic imprinting, the phenomenon whereby one of two autosomal alleles is selected for expression based on the parent of origin. This is due in part to a proliferation of new techniques for interrogating the genome that are leading researchers working on organisms other than mouse and human, where imprinting has been most studied, to become interested in looking for potential imprinting effects. Here, we recap what is known about the importance of imprints for growth and body size, as well as the main types of locus control. Interestingly, work from a number of labs has now shown that maintenance of the imprint post implantation appears to be a more crucial step than previously appreciated. We ask whether imprints can be reprogrammed somatically, how many loci there are and how conserved imprinted regions are in other species. Finally, we survey some of the methods available for examining DNA methylation genome-wide and look to the future of this burgeoning field.
Source: The journal of Reproductive Science
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