Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.

Project Center

University of Massachusetts Medical Center


Our lab has inserted an inducible XIST transgene into the third chromosome 21 in a Down Syndrome (DS) iPS cell line in order to correct for the trisomy, provide us with the first human model to explore the initiation of silencing of an entire human chromosome, and study the accumulation of heterochromatic marks and the formation of the compact Barr body. Our model is shown here to shut down and compact human chromosome 21 much like the naturally occurring process of X inactivation reported in female mice. Additional data indicates that the silencing of gene transcription is separate from the silencing of DNA repeats, and that gene silencing correlates with the accumulation of ubiquitin as a heterochromatic mark on the entire chromosome.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2013


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

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