Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genome protects itself against mobile junk DNA

24.06.2002


At the Hubrecht Laboratory in Utrecht, the biologist Sylvia Fischer has discovered how organisms protect themselves against transposons. Transposons are pieces of DNA which can translocate themselves within the genome. Sometimes transposons cause damage to the DNA. Plants probably have a similar mechanism which protects them against viruses.



Biologists from Utrecht discovered that the nematode C. elegans keeps transposons in check with a sophisticated mechanism. Due to the mechanism, the transposons cannot make any of the proteins needed to jump through the DNA. In this manner the nematodes render the transposons virtually harmless. The dcr-1 gene seems to play a crucial role in the mechanism.

During the study, Sylvia Fischer also discovered how new transposons can arise. If a transposon jumps out of the DNA a hole remains in the DNA chain. The body’s recovery mechanism uses a transposon further along the DNA as an example to repair the damage. However, the example to be copied sometimes changes during the copying process. This gives rise to a new transposon in the form of a hybrid of the chosen example.


In the future transposons could serve as tools for gene therapy. For this to be realised more must be known about the behaviour of transposons in the cell. Gene therapy is the addition of a piece of DNA to somebody who is ill due to a genetic defect. In gene therapy the transposon should add a good version of a defective gene to the DNA. The research from Utrecht shows that transposons can only jump well if they do not carry too large a piece of DNA.

Transposons form almost half of the human DNA. They are also termed junk DNA, as they probably have no function. Transposons are probably remnants of viruses from the past. In some aspects the AIDS virus is similar to a transposon.

Michel Philippens | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Historical rainfall levels are significant in carbon emissions from soil
30.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht 3D printer inks from the woods
30.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>