New research at the University of North Carolina sheds light on the process that silences a group of genes in the developing embryo.
Down regulation of gene expression or "gene silencing" is considered crucial in normal development. In the embryo, proteins expressed by different sets of genes help signal the pattern of development, including limb formation. However, when that work is completed, the genes responsible must be turned off, explains Dr. Yi Zhang, assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine and a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"During the early embryonic development, a group of genes called Hox genes needs to be expressed. After theyve been expressed and have set the body pattern, they have to be silenced permanently during the life of the organism," Zhang said.
Leslie Lang | EurekAlert!
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