Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Genomic Imprinting

Non-Mendelian epigenetic phenomenon during gametogenesis in which the expression of a gene or chromosome region depends on whether it is inherited from the mother or the father, the parent-of-origin effect. Two modes have been proposed to explain the phenomenon: (a) inheritance of two homologous copies of a gene from one parent (uniparental disomy); and (b) DNA methylation of the allele contributed by one parent, making an offspring effectively homozygous for the other parent’s allele. The event would be unique in case (a), but reversible and multigenerational in (b). Aka genetic imprinting, parental imprinting.

Cf. female genomic imprinting and male genomic imprinting.

See Haig hypothesis.

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