Less than 10% of the human genome contains coded information in the form of genes. The 30,000-40,000 genes in the genome are found grouped in discrete regions of the chromosomes. Chemical agents and radiation habitually cause a large variety of injuries to the DNA which interferes in many cell processes, like transcription and replication, and this can cause a loss of control of cell division and the appearance of tumours. In order to avoid this, the human genome contains more than 130 DNA repair genes which are coded by proteins that constantly scrutinise the genome and seek out damage in order to eliminate it.
A team of researchers from the Mutation Group at the Department of Genetics and Microbiology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, together with investigators from Leiden University Medical Centre in Leiden (Holland), have discovered that the most important part of the human genome, that is to say the zones where the genes are grouped, are subject to a special and preferential control by the repair mechanisms. In this way, the presence of mutations and the appearance of cancer in the most active genes are prevented.
In order to determine how the repair mechanisms act in the whole human genome, the UAB scientists have studied lines of cells derived from the skin of healthy people and from patients deficient in the repair of DNA damage produced by solar radiation, a genetic disorder called xeroderma pigmentosa. In those affected by this disorder (popularised by the characters of the children in the film The Others), the repair mechanisms do not act when ultraviolet light shines on the skin cells, which causes them to have an accumulation of mutations and, therefore, an extremely high incidence of melanoma (skin cancer). The scientists have been able to observe how the repair of damage caused by ultraviolet rays is concentrated in the richest regions of the genome and, therefore, there is preferential repair of the most important part of the genome, called the transcriptome. By way of example, chromosome 19, the densest and most genetically active, shows high levels of repair, whereas in chromosome 4, one of the poorest in genes, there is practically no preferential repair of the mutations induced by ultraviolet light.
Octavi López Coronado | alfa
Scientists enlist engineered protein to battle the MERS virus
22.05.2017 | University of Toronto
Insight into enzyme's 3-D structure could cut biofuel costs
19.05.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
16.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2017 | Life Sciences
22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy