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Definition of Genomic imprinting

Genomic imprinting: The phenomenon of parent-of-origin gene expression. The expression of a gene depends upon the parent who passed on the gene.

For instance, two different disorders - Prader-Willi syndrome and Angelman syndrome -- are due to deletion of the same part of chromosome 15. When the deletion involves the chromosome 15 that came from the father, the child has Prader-Willi syndrome, but when the deletion involves the chromosome 15 that came from the mother, the child has Angelman syndrome.

Genomic imprinting plays a critical role in fetal growth and development. Imprinting is regulated by DNA methylation and chromatin structure.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=21053
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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