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NIH, USU study maps hotspots of genetic rearrangement
Date:4/5/2011

per and a researcher at the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). "Hotspots are the starting point for the process that ensures that every person is unique. These hotspots facilitate the adaptation of populations to environmental influences through evolution. Our findings will allow us to explore things like how environment and genetic background affect the recombination landscape."

"Now that we have mapped recombination hotspots genome-wide, we can actually carry out studies on the whole mouse genome. This will be very beneficial in extending our knowledge to organisms as complex as humans," said Galina Petukhova, Ph.D., assistant professor in the USU Department of Biology and one of the paper's senior authors. "Faulty recombination can lead to infertility or birth defects, and this work brings us closer to our ultimate goal of helping to prevent these health issues."

Camerini-Otero compared the map's new level of precision to the difference between being able to zoom in to see a city block to being able to zoom in to see each building on the block. "What we were looking for was resolution that was much higher than ever seen before," said Camerini-Otero. "Now that we can actually see these individual events of genetic recombination, we can begin to understand their molecular structure."

The researchers including lead authors Fatima Smagulova, Ph.D., of USU, and Ivan V. Gregoretti, Ph.D., of NIDDK used cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology and lots of computational power to take a snapshot of all the individual pieces of DNA that were taking part in recombination at a given moment in living cells. They then used this snapshot of short DNA pieces to draw a map of where chromosomes have an increased potential to be broken and to come back together in new ways.

Mice were used as subjects for this study because the researchers needed a population that could be created with a specific and i
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Contact: Amy F. Reiter
NIDDKMedia@mail.nih.gov
301-496-3583
NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Source:Eurekalert  

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