- Chromatin conversations: Mechanisms and implications of paramutation
- Nature Reviews Genetics
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- Number of pages
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Paramutation is a widespread epigenetic phenomenon that was first described in pea and then extensively studied in maize, whereby combining two specific alleles results in a heritable change in the expression of one of the alleles. Far from being restricted to endogenous plant genes, paramutation-like interactions have been described in several kingdoms, in which they can occur between homologous transgenes or between transgenes and homologous endogenous genes at allelic or non-allelic positions. In this review, we discuss potential mechanisms underlying paramutation, compare paramutation to several other trans-sensing phenomena, and speculate on the potential roles and evolutionary implications of these intriguing homology-sensing mechanisms.
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