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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Transcriptional silencers in animal genomes.


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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


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

Check for updates. 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

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research