Advancing Epigenetics Towards Systems Biology


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Homeotic (homeobox, hox) genes
Homeotic genes in general transform parts of the body into structures appropriate to other positions. Genes with a homeobox or Hox domain involved in embryonic development in many organisms from fruit flies to humans.
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Describes a gene, protein or morphological structure that is similar in both DNA sequence and amino-acid sequence and function between organisms of different species. Real homologies are based on a common evolutionary descent in contrast to convergent evolution or analogies. Genes discovered initially in fruit flies often have homologues in mammals.
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Housekeeping gene
Genes required throughout development for the smooth running of the cell's metabolism. Such genes are expressed continuously.
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Human genome project
International scientific effort that sequenced the entire human genome to create a reference database for all alleles of all human genes.
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ICF syndrome
(immunodeficiency, centromeric instability and facial anomalies syndrome) Very rare recessive autosomal disorder. It is characterized by a mutation in the DNA-methyltransferase-3b (Dnmt3b) gene. Characterized by facial anomalies such as low-set ears and enlarged tongue. Individuals with the syndrome have very poor immune response to infectious diseases.
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(intracytoplasmic sperm injection) Mechanical procedure that injects a sperm into an egg.
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Human insulin-like growth factor 2 gene/protein, which binds insulin-like growth factor 2 protein, preventing it from promoting growth. Known to be imprinted in mice, but not humans.
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Mouse insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor gene/protein, which binds insulin-like growth factor 2 protein, preventing it from promoting growth. Known to be imprinted in mice, but not humans.
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Imprinted genes
Alleles that are active or silent depending on whether they are inherited from mum or dad. For example, IGF2 that comes from the mother is silent, whereas the copy you get from your dad is active (made into protein). Abnormal imprinting can cause embryonic lethality.
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The phenomenon whereby a small subset of all the genes in our genome are expressed according to their parent of origin.
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Inner Cell Mass
(ICM) Also called embryoblast. Cells from very early developing embryo, when the embryo is merely a ball of cells.
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In vitro fertilization: a form of ART, in which egg cells are extracted from ovaries and fertilized with sperm ex vivo. Successful fertilization generate an embryo, which is then implanted into the uterus
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A kind of cancer of the bone marrow, which involves uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal white blood cells. Symptoms present in both and adults and children. These include anaemia, impaired blood-clotting, enlargement of lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
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(latin, plural loci) A locus is a fixed position on a chromosome that is occupied by a given gene or one of its alleles.
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Locus control region
(LCR) Defined by their ability to enhance the expression of linked genes to physiological levels in a tissue-specific and copy number-dependent manner at ectopic chromatin sites. The concept that developmental and cell lineage-specific regulation of gene expression relies not only on gene-proximal elements such as promoters, enhancers, and silencers, but also on long-range interactions of various cis regulatory elements and dynamic chromatin alterations.
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