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During early development in female mammals, most genes on one of the two X-chromosomes undergo transcriptional silencing. In the extraembryonic lineages of some eutherian species, imprinted X-inactivation of the paternal X-chromosome occurs. In the cells of the embryo proper, the choice of the future inactive X-chromosome is random. We mapped several genes on the X-chromosomes of five common vole species and compared their expression and methylation patterns in somatic and extraembryonic tissues, where random and imprinted X-inactivation occurs, respectively. In extraembryonic tissues, more genes were expressed on the inactive X-chromosome than in somatic tissues. We also found that the methylation status of the X-linked genes was always in accordance with their expression pattern in somatic, but not in extraembryonic tissues. The data provide new evidence that imprinted X-inactivation is less complete and/or stable than the random form and DNA methylation contributes less to its maintenance.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





541 - 552


Animals, Arvicolinae, Chromosome Mapping, DNA Methylation, Female, Gene Expression, Genes, X-Linked, Genomic Imprinting, Humans, In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence, Male, Muridae, RNA, Long Noncoding, RNA, Untranslated, Repressor Proteins, X Chromosome, X Chromosome Inactivation