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Duke-NIEHS team shows how DNA repairs may reshape the genome
Date:8/13/2008

kes for an Achilles heel among humans," Argueso said. "If you have a break in this repeated part, you can repair not only from the same chromosome, but also from a similar repeated sequence in many other places in the genome."

Sequencing the genomes of different humans has turned up a surprising amount of structural variation between individuals, said Thomas D. Petes, Ph.D., chair of Duke molecular genetics and microbiology and co-author of the yeast study. "We expected to see primarily single base pair changes or small deletions and insertions. No one expected to see that one person would have two copies of a gene, while others would have one or three copies of the same gene."

These human studies also showed that many of the rearrangements found in humans are at sites of repeated DNA, which may occur through a mechanism similar to what this study found in yeast.

Petes said this work with yeast also could prove relevant to cancer research. "Most solid tumors have a high level of these rearrangements, as well as a high level of extra chromosomes; recombination between repeated genes is clearly one way of generating rearrangements, although some rearrangements also occur by other pathways," he said. "It is an evolutionary battle between normal cells and tumor cells. One way that tumor cells can break free of normal cell growth regulation is to rearrange their genomes."


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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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