Heterochromatin: condense or excise

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In eukaryotes, condensing chromosomal DNA into heterochromatin is important for gene silencing and proper chromosome segregation. A recent study suggests a function for heterochromatin in protecting highly repeated genes and satellite DNA against excision caused by recombination or by joining of free DNA ends following DNA damage.

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Figure 1: RNAi-dependent effects on heterochromatin and genome architecture.

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