In mice, myogenin is essential for the development of functional skeletal muscle. Myogenin is required for the fusion of myogenic precursor cells to either new or previously existing fibers during the process of differentiation in myogenesis. When the DNA coding for myogenin was knocked out of the mouse genome, severe skeletal muscle defects were observed. Mice lacking both copies of myogenin (homozygous-null) suffer from perinatal lethality due to the lack of mature secondary skeletal muscle fibers throughout the body.
In cell culture, myogenin can induce myogenesis in a variety of non-muscle cell types.
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