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Abstract

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification which plays an important role in chromatin organization and gene expression. DNA methylation can silence genes and repetitive elements through a process which leads to the alteration of chromatin structure. The mechanisms which target DNA methylation to specific sites in the genome are not fully understood. In this review, we will discuss the mechanisms which lead to the long-term silencing of genes and will survey the progression that has been made in determining the targeted mechanisms for de novo DNA methylation. J. Cell. Physiol. 213: 384–390, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.