In somatic cells, imprinted genes are expressed monoallelically according to parent-of-origin. In contrast, in 11.5 days post-coitum primordial germ cells (PGCs), and later stage germ cells, these same genes are expressed biallelically, suggesting that imprints inherited from the gametes are largely erased by this stage. To determine when in germ cell development this biallelic expression phenomenon commences, we isolated migrating PGCs by flow cytometry and determined the allele-specific expression of four imprinted genes - Snrpn, Igf2, H19 and Igf2r. The first three genes were expressed monoallelically, while the latter gene was expressed biallelically. These results show that inherited imprints regulating monoallelic expression are largely intact in migrating PGCs.
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