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Latest Mobile genetic elements Stories

2009-12-15 20:52:31

Researchers at Uppsala University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Broad Institute have discovered a previously unknown gene ZBED6 that is unique to placental mammals. The gene originates from a so called jumping gene that integrated in the genome of a primitive mammal at least 150 million years ago and has since then evolved an essential function. The study is published in PLoS Biology today. Domestic pigs develop more muscle and store less fat than their wild ancestor, the...

2009-10-21 13:35:58

Bits of movable DNA called transposable elements or TEs fill up the genomes of plants and animals, but it has remained unclear how a genome can survive a rapid burst of hundreds, even thousands of new TE insertions. Now, for the first time, research led by plant biologists at the University of Georgia have documented the impact of such a burst in a rice strain that is accumulating more than 40 new TE insertions per plant per generation of an element called mPing. The big surprise of their...

2009-09-21 09:54:40

Scientists have identified how a protein enables sections of so-called junk DNA to be cut and pasted within genetic code "“ a finding which could speed development of gene therapies. The study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh sheds light on the process, known as DNA transposition, in which shifted genes have a significant effect on the behavior of neighboring genes. In the human genome, rearrangement of antibody genes can enable the immune system to target infection more...

2009-08-05 14:02:46

Vectors derived from retroviruses are useful tools for long-term gene transfer because they allow stable integration of transgenes and propagation into daughter cells. Lentiviral vectors are preferred because they can transduce non-proliferating cellular targets. These vectors can be engineered to target specific tissues. In the August issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org/TOCs/toc8_09.dtl), François-Loïc Cosset and colleagues...

2009-07-31 12:10:50

Transposons are mobile genetic elements found in the hereditary material of humans and other organisms. They can replicate and the new copies can insert at novel sites in the genome. Because this threatens the whole organism, molecular mechanisms have evolved which can repress transposon activity. Professor Klaus Förstemann of the Gene Center of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich and a team of researchers working with the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster have now...

2009-06-11 15:40:00

Gene insertions have implications for understanding development of genetic diseases, cancerJumping genes do most of their jumping, not during the development of sperm and egg cells, but during the development of the embryo itself. The research, published this month in Genes and Development, "challenges standard assumptions on the timing of when mobile DNA, so-called jumping genes, insert into the human genome," says senior author Haig H. Kazazian Jr., MD, Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular...

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2009-05-29 09:51:57

VIB researchers linked to K.U.Leuven and Harvard University show that stretches of DNA previously believed to be useless 'junk' DNA play a vital role in the evolution of our genome. They found that unstable pieces of junk DNA help tuning gene activity and enable organisms to quickly adapt to changes in their environments. The results will be published in the reputed scientific Journal Science. Junk DNA 'Most people do not realize that all our genes only comprise about 3% of the total human...

2009-05-26 13:43:38

U.S. scientists studying the genetics of the pond organism Oxytricha have determined so-called junk DNA might not be so junky after all. The researchers said scientists have long been perplexed by junk DNA -- extensive strands of genetic material that dominate the genome, but seem to lack specific functions. Now researchers from Princeton and Indiana Universities have discovered DNA sequences from regions of what had been viewed as the dispensable genome are actually performing functions...

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2009-05-21 09:20:00

Scientists have called it "junk DNA." They have long been perplexed by these extensive strands of genetic material that dominate the genome but seem to lack specific functions. Why would nature force the genome to carry so much excess baggage? Now researchers from Princeton University and Indiana University who have been studying the genome of a pond organism have found that junk DNA may not be so junky after all. They have discovered that DNA sequences from regions of what had been viewed as...

2009-05-04 07:14:47

Gene therapy Gene therapy is the introduction of genetic material into a patient's cells resulting in a cure or a therapeutic effect. In recent years, it has been shown that gene therapy is a promising technology to treat or even cure several fatal diseases for which there is no attractive alternative therapy. Gene therapy can be used for hereditary diseases, but also for other diseases that affect heart, brain and even for cancer. Indeed, recent results suggest that gene therapy can be...