Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Gene on an X chromosome believed to be involved in the epigenetic initiation of X inactivation in a female cell into an inactive Barr body. XIST is transcribed into RNA but not translated; the XIST RNA product appears to coat the entire X chromosome prior to X inactivation. Genomic imprinting of XIST accounts for the nonrandom X inactivation of the extraembryonic tissues; see random-X inactivation. In humans, XIST is located at Xq13. In other species the terminology is Xist.

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