Mealybug Chromosome Cycle as a Paradigm of EpigeneticsReport as inadecuate

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Genetics Research InternationalVolume 2012 2012, Article ID 867390, 11 pages

Review Article

Department of Ecology and Biology, University of Tuscia, Via San Camillo de Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy

Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest systems, University of Tuscia, Via San Camillo de Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy

Received 22 July 2011; Revised 7 November 2011; Accepted 26 December 2011

Academic Editor: Lori McEachern

Copyright © 2012 Giorgio Prantera and Silvia Bongiorni. 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.


Recently, epigenetics has had an ever-growing impact on research not only for its intrinsic interest but also because it has been implied in biological phenomena, such as tumor emergence and progression. The first epigenetic phenomenon to be described in the early 1960s was chromosome imprinting in some insect species sciaridae and coccoideae. Here, we discuss recent experimental results to dissect the phenomenon of imprinted facultative heterochromatinization in Lecanoid coccids mealybugs. In these insect species, the entire paternally derived haploid chromosome set becomes heterochromatic during embryogenesis in males. We describe the role of known epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, in this phenomenon. We then discuss the models proposed to explain the noncanonical chromosome cycle of these species.

Author: Giorgio Prantera and Silvia Bongiorni



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