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Imprinting

Related Terms

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Background

  • Human cells contain 46 chromosomes (22 pairs of autosomes, and one pair of sex chromosomes). Each individual has two copies of the 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes, one pair inherited from the mother and one from the father. The pair of sex chromosomes includes an X chromosome from the mother and an X or a Y from the father. Females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have one X and one Y.
  • Individuals have two copies of most genes, which are sequences of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that contain instructions for making proteins, one inherited from each parent. Researchers have found that the DNA of some genes (for example, IGF2) inherited from the mother has different modifications from the same genes inherited from the father, a phenomenon called imprinting. Imprinting is a normal process that occurs in all individuals, and it is needed for normal development. Modifications due to imprinting may cause the gene from one parent to be made at higher levels in a cell than the gene from the other parent.
  • DNA is located in a compartment of the cell called the nucleus and is contained in chromosomes. In addition to DNA, chromosomes also contain proteins, such as histones, which help to package the DNA and regulate gene expression. Unlike histones, most proteins are not involved in packaging DNA.
  • Chromosomes contain hundreds of genes, which provide the instructions for making proteins. Chromosomes also contain many other regulatory sequences that control how much of a gene will be made, when it will be made, and where in the body it will be made.
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Methods

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Research

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Implications

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Limitations

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Safety

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Future Research

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.