The field of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) research has been rapidly advancing in recent years. Technological advancements and deep-sequencing of the transcriptome have facilitated the identification of numerous new lncRNAs, many with unusual properties, however, the function of most of these molecules is still largely unknown. Some evidence suggests that several of these lncRNAs may regulate their own transcription in cis, and that of nearby genes, by recruiting remodeling factors to local chromatin. Notably, lncRNAs are known to exist at many imprinted gene clusters. Genomic imprinting is a complex and highly regulated process resulting in the monoallelic silencing of certain genes, based on the parent-of-origin of the allele. It is thought that lncRNAs may regulate many imprinted loci, however, the mechanism by which they exert such influence is poorly understood. This review will discuss what is known about the lncRNAs of major imprinted loci, and the roles they play in the regulation of imprinting.
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