Balancing the dose in the mouse

The Department of Neuroscience and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Burke Medical Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College, 785 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY, 10605, USA, .
Results and problems in cell differentiation 08/2012; 55:231-45. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-30406-4_13
Source: PubMed


Organisms that use a chromosomal basis of sex determination have a problem of gene inequality. In the mouse, this dimorphism is evident by the presence of two X-chromosomes in females, while males have a single X- and a single Y-chromosome. To balance this disparity, one of the two female X-chromosomes is transcriptionally silenced to neutralize the gene dose with the XY male. Dosage compensation in mammals is known as X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) and is a crucial early developmental process. XCI is an example of epigenetics: a phenotype resulting in changes on a chromosome without a change in nucleic acid sequence. Studies in mouse embryology and genetics have answered many questions about the process of balancing the dose. In this chapter, I highlight how the mouse dosage compensates the gene disparity between XX females and XY males in a crucial epigenetic process called X-chromosome inactivation (XCI).

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