Medical research

RNA molecules control repair of human DNA in cancer cells

A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows how certain RNA molecules control the repair of damaged DNA in cancer cells, a discovery that could eventually give rise to better cancer treatments. The study is published ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

How fetal alcohol exposure increases risk of development disorders

Researchers at the University of Toronto's Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy have uncovered mechanisms that help to explain how the breast cancer 1 susceptibility protein (BRCA1), best known for its role in suppression of breast ...

Neuroscience

How retrotransposons control the brain

Around half of the genome is made up of transposable elements or 'jumping genes' that derive from ancient viral integrations. They persist in various states of decay like an old fashioned 'pull your own' junkyard where parts ...

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DNA repair

DNA repair refers to a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light and Radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day. Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell's ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. Other lesions induce potentially harmful mutations in the cell's genome, which affect the survival of its daughter cells after it undergoes mitosis. Consequently, the DNA repair process is constantly active as it responds to damage in the DNA structure.

The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including the cell type, the age of the cell, and the extracellular environment. A cell that has accumulated a large amount of DNA damage, or one that no longer effectively repairs damage incurred to its DNA, can enter one of three possible states:

The DNA repair ability of a cell is vital to the integrity of its genome and thus to its normal functioning and that of the organism. Many genes that were initially shown to influence lifespan have turned out to be involved in DNA damage repair and protection. Failure to correct molecular lesions in cells that form gametes can introduce mutations into the genomes of the offspring and thus influence the rate of evolution.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA