Paramutation describes a heritable change of gene expression that is brought about through interactions between homologous chromosomes. Genetic analyses in plants and, more recently, in mouse indicate that genomic sequences related to transcriptional control and molecules related to small RNA biology are necessary for specific examples of paramutation. Some of the molecules identified in maize are also required for normal plant development. These observations indicate a functional relationship between the nuclear mechanisms responsible for paramutation and modes of developmental gene control.
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