piwi genes

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A family of genes, first identified in Drosophila, that are important in stem cell self-renewal and gametogenesis in diverse multicellular organisms ranging from Arabidopsis to mouse (miwi genes) and human (HIWI genes). The gene products contain a highly conserved motif (piwi domain) which is important for the endonuclease cleavage activity of RISCs. Piwi interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are germ-cell-specific RNAs essential for male germ-cell development that are bound to a class of argonaute proteins which may repress or activate gene expression.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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