Genomic and epigenomic approaches to the study of X chromosome inactivation

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Jun;16(3):240-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2006.04.008. Epub 2006 May 2.


X chromosome inactivation represents a compelling example of chromosome-wide, long-range epigenetic gene-silencing in mammals. The cis- and trans-acting factors that establish and maintain the patterns and levels of gene expression from the active and inactive X chromosomes remain incompletely understood; however, the availability of the complete genomic sequence of the human X chromosome, together with complementary approaches that explore the computational biology, epigenetic modifications and gene expression-profiling along the chromosome, suggests that the features of the X chromosome that are responsible for its unique forms of gene regulation are increasingly amenable to experimental analysis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics*
  • Genomics*
  • Heterochromatin / genetics
  • Humans
  • X Chromosome / genetics*
  • X Chromosome Inactivation / genetics*


  • Heterochromatin