Epigenetic modification and imprinting of the mammalian genome during development

Curr Top Dev Biol. 1999;43:1-49. doi: 10.1016/s0070-2153(08)60377-4.


Genomic imprinting in mammals results in the differential expression of maternal and paternal alleles of certain genes. Recent observations have revealed that the regulation of imprinted genes is only partially determined by epigenetic modifications imposed on the two parental genomes during gametogenesis. Additional modifications mediated by factors in the ooplasm, early embryo, or developing embryonic tissues appear to be involved in establishing monoallelic expression for a majority of imprinted genes. As a result, genomic imprinting effects may be manifested in a stage-specific or cell type-specific manner. The developmental aspects of imprinting are reviewed here, and the available molecular data that address the mechanism of allele silencing for three specific imprinted gene domains are considered within the context of explaining how the imprinted gene silencing may be controlled developmentally.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Embryonic Development
  • Female
  • Gametogenesis
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genomic Imprinting*
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Pregnancy