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X-chromosome inactivation: the molecular basis of silencing

Barbara Panning

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA

Journal of Biology 2008, 7:30  doi:10.1186/jbiol95

Published: 27 October 2008


X-chromosome inactivation occurs randomly for one of the two X chromosomes in female cells during development. Inactivation occurs when RNA transcribed from the Xist gene on the X chromosome from which it is expressed spreads to coat the whole X chromosome. In the first issue of Epigenetics and Chromatin, Nesterova and colleagues investigate the role of the RNA interference pathway enzyme Dicer in DNA methylation of the Xist promoter.