, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 265-273

Preferential X inactivation in human placenta membranes: Is the paternal X inactive in early embryonic development of female mammals?

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In placenta membranes of newborn girls carrying electrophoretically distinguishable G6PD alleles, the maternally derived isozyme is expressed preferentially. This phenomenon cannot be explained by allelic differences in enzyme activity or by somatic selection directed against cells with particular G6PD phenotypes. Instead, it may be that in this tissue X inactivation is nonrandom. Preferential expression of the maternal X chromosome, as has been shown in marsupials and in extraembryonic membranes of rodents and now in man, may reflect the state of activity of the X chromosomes in the early stages of female embryonic development.

H.-H. R. is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft