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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 283013, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/283013
Review Article

BACs as Tools for the Study of Genomic Imprinting

Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK

Received 20 May 2010; Revised 20 July 2010; Accepted 19 October 2010

Academic Editor: Noelle E. Cockett

Copyright © 2011 S. J. Tunster et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Genomic imprinting in mammals results in the expression of genes from only one parental allele. Imprinting occurs as a consequence of epigenetic marks set down either in the father's or the mother's germ line and affects a very specific category of mammalian gene. A greater understanding of this distinctive phenomenon can be gained from studies using large genomic clones, called bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs). Here, we review the important applications of BACs to imprinting research, covering physical mapping studies and the use of BACs as transgenes in mice to study gene expression patterns, to identify imprinting centres, and to isolate the consequences of altered gene dosage. We also highlight the significant and unique advantages that rapid BAC engineering brings to genomic imprinting research.