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Scientists shed light on evolution of gene regulation
Date:11/25/2008

f the regions that do not appear to be functional may function only together with other regulatory regions, or they could just be parking lots, or storage areas, for proteins," Hardison said.

The researchers hope that their findings will help other researchers to develop drugs to treat people who suffer from sickle-cell anemia and other blood disorders. In particular, the new results will help researchers to identify functional DNA segments from the large number that are bound by a particular protein. The GATA1 protein plays an important role in the development of red blood cells by controlling the switch from the fetal form of hemoglobin, which is produced during the second two trimesters of pregnancy, to the adult form, which begins to be produced after birth. Most adults do not produce the fetal form of hemoglobin, and it is the improper functioning of the adult form of hemoglobin that is responsible for many blood disorders.

"If someone could find a way to get the fetal forms to stay active in adults who suffer from blood disorders, it could really help them," said Hardison. "I am optimistic that our results will provide better information to researchers who specialize in developing drugs for people with blood disorders."


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Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

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