“Backward” DNA leads to DNA breaks associated with leukemia, study finds
When otherwise normal DNA adopts an unusual shape called Z-DNA, it can lead to the kind of genetic instability associated with cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, according to a study by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The study, issued in advance of the Feb. 21 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates for the first time that the oddly shaped DNA can cause DNA breaks in mammalian cells. Interestingly, these sequences prone to forming Z-DNA are often found in genetic “hot spots,” areas of DNA known to be prone to the genetic rearrangements associated with cancer. About 90 percent of patients with Burkitt’s lymphoma, for example, have DNA breaks that map to regions with the potential to form these odd DNA structures.
Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
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