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Sex and Death: Too Much of a Good Thing

Summary

Having too many chromosomes can lead to too much gene expression. Dr. Meyer explains how the gene that controls dosage compensation in C. elegans works.

Having too many chromosomes can lead to too much gene expression. If a male and a female have a different number of X chromosomes, a dosage-compensation mechanism is necessary to equalize the level of gene expression. In human females who have two X chromosomes, one X chromosome in each cell is inactive, while in C. elegans hermaphrodites, the activity of both X chromosomes is reduced by half. Dr. Meyer explains how the gene that controls dosage compensation in C. elegans works. Some genes involved in dosage compensation also have a role in cell division.

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