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Latest Retrotransposon Stories

2014-01-03 11:30:26

Stretches of DNA called retrotransposons, often dubbed "junk DNA", might play an important role in schizophrenia. In a study published today in the journal Neuron, a Japanese team revealed that LINE-1 retrotransposons are abnormally abundant in the schizophrenia brain, modify the expression of genes related to schizophrenia during brain development, and may be one of the causes of schizophrenia. Retrotransposons are short sequences of DNA that autonomously amplify and move around the...

2012-06-28 20:36:14

Steve Moose, an associate professor of maize functional genomics at the University of Illinois and his graduate student Wes Barber think they may have discovered a new source of heterosis, or hybrid vigor, in maize. They have been looking at small RNAs (sRNAs), a class of double-stranded RNA molecules that are 20 to 25 nucleotides in length. “Hybrid vigor” refers to the increased vigor or general health, resistance to disease, and other superior qualities arising from the...

2012-02-16 14:46:21

Worth EUR 1.94 million Dr. Zsuzsanna Izsvák, research group leader at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, has been named recipient of a European Research Council (ERC Advanced) grant worth EUR 1.94 million for her research on "jumping genes" (transposons). With the aid of the ERC grant, in the next five years she will focus on investigating how mobile DNA elements (transposons) influence the pathogenesis of cancer and other...

2011-12-22 15:42:35

New research illustrates how the genome adapts to a transposon invasion Small, mobile sequences of DNA left over from viruses, called transposons or "jumping genes" because of their ability to move around the genome, pose a significant threat to the genetic integrity and stability of an organism. Considered genetic parasites, these transposable elements are believed to comprise as much as 50 percent of the human genome. Because of the damage transposons can do to an organism's DNA, an...

2011-02-10 20:37:40

Presence of 'jumping genes,' amplified oncogenes may be key to tumor progression The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team that first discovered tumor-associated RNA in tiny membrane-enclosed sacs released into the bloodstream by cancer cells has now found that these microvesicles also contain segments of tumor DNA, including retrotransposons "“ also called "jumping genes" "“ that copy and insert themselves into other areas of the genome. The investigators' report,...

2011-02-07 13:47:22

RIPs are alive and well -- and moving -- in the human genome An ambitious hunt by Johns Hopkins scientists for actively "jumping genes" in humans has yielded compelling new evidence that the genome, anything but static, contains numerous pesky mobile elements that may help to explain why people have such a variety of physical traits and disease risks. Using bioinformatics to compare the standard assembly of genetic elements as outlined in the reference human genome to raw whole-genome data...

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2010-06-28 09:49:00

Finding has new implications for understanding genetic diseases Researchers at the University of Leicester have demonstrated that movable sequences of DNA, which give rise to genetic variability and sometimes cause specific diseases, are far more common than previously thought. In a paper published in the leading journal Cell, Dr Richard Badge and his collaborators examined L1 (or LINE-1) retrotransposons: DNA sequences which can 'copy and paste' their genetic code around the genome. By...

2010-06-02 13:37:06

Using high-throughput sequencing to map the locations of a common type of jumping gene within a person's entire genome, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found extensive variation in these locations among the individuals they studied, further underscoring the role of these errant genes in maintaining genetic diversity. The investigators determined that any two peoples' genomes differ at roughly 285 sites out of the 1139 sites studied. These results were found by...

2010-05-24 08:23:01

Genetic variation due to DNA mutation is a driving force of adaptation and evolution, as well as a contributing factor to disease. However, the mechanisms governing DNA mutation rate are not well understood. In a report published online May 24 in Genome Research, researchers have identified intrinsic properties of DNA that influence mutation rate, shedding light on mechanisms involved in genome maintenance and potentially disease. Some DNA mutations are subject to natural selection, either...

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...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'