How One of The X Chromosomes in Female Embryonic Stem Cells Is Silenced
Published:25 May2022    Source:Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

In most mammals, females have two X chromosomes and males have one X and one Y chromosome in each of their cells. To avoid a double dose of X-linked genes in females, one of the Xs is silenced early in the developmental process. This silencing is critical, yet how it happens has been relatively mysterious. Two new U-M studies reveal more about this silencing process and insights that could improve stem cell research.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) hold enormous promise for research into early development as well as for regenerative medicine for diseases ranging from type 1 diabetes to Parkinson's disease. Yet, biologists working with female hESCs in the lab often run into a phenomenon wherein the normally inactivated X chromosome loses this suppression while growing in a culture dish.