Nov 16, 2018

By solving a mystery of gene repair, scientists uncover an exception to biology’s rules

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, genetics


About 15 years ago, UNC Lineberger’s Dale Ramsden, Ph.D., was looking through a textbook with one of his students when they stumbled upon a scientific mystery.

A small line in the book indicated that a protein that helps major breaks in our did so by adding DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, as expected. However, there were hints that it could also add RNA, or ribonucleic acid, at least in a test tube. It seemed unlikely that this would occur during repair of DNA in living , since RNA is normally used only as a messenger to carry information from the genetic code to make proteins.

“You would think they must only add DNA during repair of our genetic code, because that’s the core of the central dogma of life; genetic information has to be DNA all the time,” said Ramsden, who is a professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s what we’re taught in school.”

Read more

Comments are closed.