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Eukaryotic genomes are pervasively transcribed but until recently this noncoding transcription was considered to be simply noise. Noncoding transcription units overlap with genes and genes overlap other genes, meaning genomes are extensively interleaved. Experimental interventions reveal high degrees of interdependency between these transcription units, which have been co-opted as gene regulatory mechanisms. The precise outcome depends on the relative orientation of the transcription units and whether two overlapping transcription events are contemporaneous or not, but generally involves chromatin-based changes. Thus transcription itself regulates transcription initiation or repression at many regions of the genome.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Genet

Publication Date





57 - 71


Eukaryotic Cells, Genome, Transcription Factors, Transcription, Genetic