Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Junk' DNA May Be Very Valuable To Embryos

Date:
October 12, 2004
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study sheds light on events orchestrating the changes when mammalian eggs are fertilized and become embryos. Researchers have discovered that expression of genes in mouse eggs and very early embryos is activated in part by regions of DNA called retrotransposons, which may have originated from retroviruses.

A new study sheds light on events orchestrating the changes when mammalian eggs are fertilized and become embryos. Researchers have discovered that expression of genes in mouse eggs and very early embryos is activated in part by regions of DNA called retrotransposons, which may have originated from retroviruses.

These regions, found in DNA of human, mouse, and other mammals in hundreds of thousands of copies, are called retrotransposons because they have the ability to propagate and insert themselves into different positions within the genome. The research, published in the October issue of Developmental Cell, suggests that retrotransposons may not be just the "junk DNA" once thought, but rather appear to be a large repository of start sites for initiating gene expression. Therefore, more than one third of the mouse and human genomes, previously thought to be non-functional, may play some role in the regulation of gene expression and promotion of genetic diversity.

Dr. Barbara B. Knowles and colleagues from The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, found that distinct retrotransposon types are unexpectedly active in mouse eggs, and others are activated in early embryos. Surprisingly, by acting as alternative promoters, retrotransposon-derived controlling elements drive the coordinated expression of multiple mouse genes. "To our knowledge, this is the first report that such elements can initiate synchronous, developmentally regulated expression of multiple genes," says Dr. Knowles. "Also, random insertions of these elements can introduce variation in genes, potentially altering their function."

The researchers think that expression of retrotransposons during very early stages may contribute to the reprogramming of the mammalian embryonic genome, a prerequisite for normal development.

###

Anne E. Peaston, Alexei V. Evsikov, Joel H. Graber, Wilhelmine N. de Vries, Andrea E. Holbrook, Davor Solter, and Barbara B. Knowles: "Retrotransposons Regulate Host Genes in Mouse Oocytes and Preimplantation Embryos"

Publishing in Developmental Cell, Volume 7, Number 4, October 2004, pages 597–606.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "'Junk' DNA May Be Very Valuable To Embryos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012085830.htm>.
Cell Press. (2004, October 12). 'Junk' DNA May Be Very Valuable To Embryos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012085830.htm
Cell Press. "'Junk' DNA May Be Very Valuable To Embryos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041012085830.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins