Genomic imprinting: the emergence of an epigenetic paradigm

Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Jul 18;12(8):565-75. doi: 10.1038/nrg3032.


The emerging awareness of the contribution of epigenetic processes to genome function in health and disease is underpinned by decades of research in model systems. In particular, many principles of the epigenetic control of genome function have been uncovered by studies of genomic imprinting. The phenomenon of genomic imprinting, which results in some genes being expressed in a parental--origin-specific manner, is essential for normal mammalian growth and development and exemplifies the regulatory influences of DNA methylation, chromatin structure and non-coding RNA. Setting seminal discoveries in this field alongside recent progress and remaining questions shows how the study of imprinting continues to enhance our understanding of the epigenetic control of genome function in other contexts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Epigenomics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics


  • Histones
  • RNA, Untranslated