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
Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy
17.12.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Communication between neural networks
17.12.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Studies and Analyses
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences
17.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering