Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Silencers in the spotlight

Efforts to systematically characterize silencers in animal genomes have been limited. Two studies in this issue of Nature Genetics bring silencers into the spotlight, identifying these elements genome wide in human and mouse cells, and providing insights into their function.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Transcriptional silencers in animal genomes.


  1. 1.

    Sawada, S., Scarborough, J. D., Killeen, N. & Littman, D. R. Cell 77, 917–929 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Siu, G., Wurster, A. L., Duncan, D. D., Soliman, T. M. & Hedrick, S. M. EMBO J. 13, 3570–3579 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Pang, B. & Snyder, M. P. Nat. Genet. (2020).

  4. 4.

    Beck, D. B., Oda, H., Shen, S. S. & Reinberg, D. Genes Dev. 26, 325–337 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Freire-Pritchett, P. et al. eLife 6, e21926 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Schoenfelder, S. et al. Nat. Genet. 47, 1179–1186 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Cruz-Molina, S. et al. Cell Stem Cell 20, 689–705.e9 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Ngan, C. Y. et al. Nat. Genet. (2020).

  9. 9.

    Gisselbrecht, S. S. et al. Mol. Cell 77, 324–337.e8 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Azuara, V. et al. Nat. Cell Biol. 8, 532–538 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Bernstein, B. E. et al. Cell 125, 315–326 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Rada-Iglesias, A. et al. Nature 470, 279–283 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Galupa, R. et al. Mol. Cell 77, 352–367.e8 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Benabdallah, N. S. et al. Mol. Cell 76, 473–484.e7 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Alexander, J. M. et al. eLife 8, e41769 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mikhail Spivakov.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Della Rosa, M., Spivakov, M. Silencers in the spotlight. Nat Genet 52, 244–245 (2020).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing