Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Junk DNA' could spotlight breast and bowel cancer

Date:
January 6, 2010
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Scientists have found that a group of genetic rogue elements, produced by DNA sequences commonly known as "junk DNA," could help diagnose breast and bowel cancer.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have found that a group of genetic rogue elements, produced by DNA sequences commonly known as 'junk DNA', could help diagnose breast and bowel cancer. Their research, funded by Cancer Research UK, is published in this month's Genomics journal.

Related Articles


The researchers, led by Dr Cristina Tufarelli, in the School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health Sciences, discovered that seven of these faulty genetic elements -- known as chimeric transcripts -- are more common in breast cancer cells. Five were only present in breast cancer cells while two were found in both normal and breast cancer cells.

These rogue elements are produced by DNA sequences called LINE-1 (L1). Despite being labelled as 'junk DNA' it is clear that some of these sequences have important roles in the genome, such as influencing when genes are switched on.

L1s carry a switch that is able to randomly turn on nearby genes. When genes are inappropriately switched on in this way they make the genetic rogue elements that can sabotage the normal functioning of cells. To prevent the potentially damaging effects of these rogue elements, normal cells silence L1s with a chemical 'off switch'. In cancerous cells this 'off switch' is often missing, leading to the production of these genetic rogue elements.

Dr Tufarelli, a lecturer at the University who has also received funding from a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship, said: "This study has generated new research tools to investigate the role of 'junk DNA' in cancer development. The next step is to find out if the switching on of these genes is driving cancer or if they are a result of the cancer. Even if they are innocent bystanders of cancer they could be useful biomarkers helping us to diagnose or monitor the disease."

The researchers extended their studies to look at two bowel cancer cell lines. Two of the genetic rogue elements were found in invasive bowel cancer cell lines, but not in the pre-invasive cells, suggesting that these sequences could play a role in cancer progression.

Dr Tufarelli said: "If this 'junk DNA' does turn out to play a role in cancer then we could be at the tip of the iceberg in understanding a completely new mechanism behind the disease. If we do find out that they are playing a role then they could be useful targets for new treatments."

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information, said: "These really interesting findings are the most comprehensive study of these transcripts that have ever been carried out. We are learning more about the genes involved in cancer but these so-called 'junk' regions receive relatively little attention. We are beginning to see that they could play a really important role."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "'Junk DNA' could spotlight breast and bowel cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105112259.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2010, January 6). 'Junk DNA' could spotlight breast and bowel cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105112259.htm
University of Nottingham. "'Junk DNA' could spotlight breast and bowel cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105112259.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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