Mammalian chromosomes contain cis‐acting elements that control replication timing, mitotic condensation, and stability of entire chromosomes

Bioessays 34 (9):760-770 (2012)
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Recent studies indicate that mammalian chromosomes contain discretecis‐acting loci that control replication timing, mitotic condensation, and stability of entire chromosomes. Disruption of the large non‐coding RNA gene ASAR6 results in late replication, an under‐condensed appearance during mitosis, and structural instability of human chromosome 6. Similarly, disruption of the mouse Xist gene in adult somatic cells results in a late replication and instability phenotype on the X chromosome. ASAR6 shares many characteristics with Xist, including random mono‐allelic expression and asynchronous replication timing. Additional “chromosome engineering” studies indicate that certain chromosome rearrangements affecting many different chromosomes display this abnormal replication and instability phenotype. These observations suggest that all mammalian chromosomes contain “inactivation/stability centers” that control proper replication, condensation, and stability of individual chromosomes. Therefore, mammalian chromosomes contain four types ofcis‐acting elements, origins, telomeres, centromeres, and “inactivation/stability centers”, all functioning to ensure proper replication, condensation, segregation, and stability of individual chromosomes.



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