University York Researchers Discovered Cause For Cancer Due To Mutations

Researchers explain the breakdowns in DNA copying process

6:06 AM, 19th April 2013
University of York Research News
Researchers explain the breakdowns in DNA copying process.

YORK, UK: Research led by a scientist at the University of York has thrown new light on the way breakdowns in the DNA copying process inside cells can contribute to cancer and other diseases. Peter McGlynn, Professor, University of York, led a team of researchers who have discovered that the protein machines that copy DNA in a model organism pause frequently during this copying process, creating the potential for dangerous mutations to develop.

The project focused on a bacterium called Escherichia coli which is a powerful model for studying the DNA copying process, the study of which has revealed many aspects of DNA metabolism in more complex organisms such as man.

“Our work demonstrates that when organisms try to copy their genetic material, the copying machines stall very frequently which is the first step in formation of mutations that, in man, can cause cancers and genetic disease. We have analysed what causes most of these breakdowns and how, under normal circumstances, cells repair these broken copying machines. Just as importantly, our work reveals that efficient repair of these breakdowns is very important to avoid corruption of the genetic code,” said Professor McGlynn.

© University of York News

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