The scientists then looked at the salivary glands at the two temperatures to see what happened when condensin II was present and when it was absent.
Bosco said, "Simply turning the condensin gene on or off, we could watch the chromosomes move right before our eyes, demonstrating that condensin was mostly likely the tiny machine that was ripping the chromosomes apart."
He said these findings are significant because more and more genetic tests to sequence people's DNA are becoming available, but the DNA sequence alone does not completely determine what diseases the person will have.
Even if it's in the genes, it might not show, he said. "It's what your cells are doing with your genes that's important."
To pull the chromosomes apart, condensin II changes its shape. Smith said the team's next step is figuring out how condensin II proteins are recruited to the chromosomes and how the condensin II proteins use the cellular energy packets known as ATP to change shape.
|Contact: Mari N. Jensen|
University of Arizona