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 NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>