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Definition of Gene silencing

Gene silencing: A mechanism by which cells shut down large sections of chromosomal DNA. Gene silencing is done by incorporating the DNA to be silenced into a form of DNA called heterochromatin that is already silent.

The process of gene silencing is important for the differentiation of many different types of cells.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=16041
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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