agouti mouse

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A genetically obese mouse; the agouti gene is normally expressed only in hair follicles, and only during hair growth, when it antagonizes melanocortin receptors. In the obese yellow mutant the gene is expressed in all tissues, and at all times; it antagonizes the melanocortin receptors in the hypothalamus that normally inhibit feeding. Expression of the agouti gene is variable, depending on maternal nutrition; this is an epigenetic event, linked to failure of methylation of CpG islands in DNA.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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