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
Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University
Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences