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Apr 9, 2021
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What are bouncing genes?

The issue of the human genome has long been of concern to both scientists and physicians. And it is precisely due to its constant close study that it turns out to find new options for the treatment of complex diseases, as well as to find an explanation for the development of certain pathologies.

One study by the Research Institute of the Children’s Medical Center in Southwestern Utah showed that some so-called “bouncing” genes may protect against certain types of blood cancer. What are these jumping genes?

What it is?

This unusual term hides transposons (from the English transposon) – DNA sections of different organisms that are able to move and reproduce within the genome. They belong to the representatives of mobile genetic elements. They are formally assigned to the non-coding part of the genome. Moreover, they can have different prevalence depending on the type of organism. For example, it is believed that in humans, transposons can account for up to 45% of the entire DNA sequence, and in plants, such genes can account for a significant part. In fact, we are talking about sections of DNA that can move from one place to another in chromosomes, integrate next to genes and change their work at the same time.

Discovery history

Trnasposons were discovered by an American researcher Barbara McClintock in the middle of the last century. She determined their presence in corn. At the same time, despite the importance of such a discovery, it was not recognized for a long time, believing that the presence of such genes is characteristic only of the studied corn – only 40 years later the woman was awarded the Nobel Prize for it. Today, as experts note, “jumping” genes have been found in almost all studied species of flora and fauna.

Now the discovery of the American McClintock is an intensively developed part of molecular biology.

The importance of jumping genes

Today, transposons are called one of the elements that provide genetic diversity in the process of evolution. In addition, they are able to stabilize the three-dimensional folding structures of the DNA molecule inside the cell nucleus. As the researchers note, “jumping” genes can create redundancies in parts of the genome, which makes it more stable. Thus, transposons can help the same mammalian genome to come to a balance – to give greater flexibility in adapting to a changing climate while maintaining biological functions and protecting against DNA damage.

They use the theory of transposons in genetic engineering and other fields of science and medicine. For example, they are of particular interest in the treatment of oncological diseases.

There are contraindications, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

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