Reprogramming of genome function through epigenetic inheritance

Nature. 2001 Nov 1;414(6859):122-8. doi: 10.1038/35102186.


Most cells contain the same set of genes and yet they are extremely diverse in appearance and functions. It is the selective expression and repression of genes that determines the specific properties of individual cells. Nevertheless, even when fully differentiated, any cell can potentially be reprogrammed back to totipotency, which in turn results in re-differentiation of the full repertoire of adult cells from a single original cell of any kind. Mechanisms that regulate this exceptional genomic plasticity and the state of totipotency are being unravelled, and will enhance our ability to manipulate stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Genome*
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Germ Cells
  • Humans
  • Oocytes
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Zygote