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Fifty years ago, Mary Lyon hypothesised that one of the two X chromosomes in female mammalian cells is inactivated at random during early embryogenesis and that the inactive X is then stably maintained through all subsequent cell divisions. Although Lyon's hypothesis is now widely regarded as fact, we should not forget that her conceptual leap met with considerable resistance from the scientific establishment at the time - a common response to new ideas. Taking this point as a theme, I discuss our current understanding of the molecular mechanism of chromosome silencing in X-chromosome inactivation and focus on topics where new findings are challenging the prevailing view.

Original publication

DOI

10.1242/dev.065276

Type

Journal article

Journal

Development

Publication Date

12/2011

Volume

138

Pages

5057 - 5065

Keywords

Animals, Humans, Mice, Models, Biological, Polycomb-Group Proteins, Protein Structure, Tertiary, RNA, RNA, Long Noncoding, RNA, Untranslated, Repressor Proteins, X Chromosome Inactivation