A number of placenta-specific genes (e.g., , , , and retrotransposon-associated genes such as , , , , , , and ), enhancer elements (e.g., glycoprotein hormone α-subunit) and gene isoforms (e.g., , ), as well as placenta-specific members of gene families (e.g., , , , , , , , , ) have been identified. This review summarizes their evolution, regulation, and biochemical functions and discusses their significance for placental development and function. Strikingly, the number of unique, truly placenta-specific genes that have been discovered to date is very small. The vast majority of placenta-specific gene products have resulted from one of three mechanisms: evolution of placenta-specific promoters, evolution of large gene families with several placenta-specific members, or adoption of functions associated with endogenous retroviruses and retroelements. Interestingly, nearly all the examples of placenta-specific genes that have been discovered to date are not present in all placental mammals.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error