Skewed X-inactivation

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The random X-inactivation which occurs early in a developing female can result in skewed or non-random X-inactivation for a patch, tissue or organ.

During the process of X-inactivation one of the female's two X chromosome is inactivated. For the whole animal this is random but for an individual cell or tissue it is not. For example, fur patches of a tortoiseshell cat are orange or black due to inactivation of one X chromosome in the patch.

This becomes important in medicine when a carrier female of an X-linked recessive condition 'randomly' inactivates the chromosome containing the unaffected gene. This can lead to mild symptoms of the disease. An example is in about 10% of carrier mothers of hemophilic boys.[1]


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