Genetic tweaks manipulate DNA’s loops | Science News

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Genetic tweaks manipulate DNA’s loops

Engineering genome shape in nucleus could influence gene activity

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3:00pm, October 19, 2015
DNA folds

BENT INTO SHAPE  A strand of DNA folds into globules (pink and blue) as it threads through two bundles of proteins called extrusion complexes (yellow), this new simulation shows. 

By tweaking parts of the genome, scientists have changed how DNA crams itself into a cell’s nucleus. The 3-D shape of DNA’s packaging is called the nucleome, and the structure has big implications for how genes work (SN: 9/5/15, p. 18). By changing the shape of looping DNA with a little bit of genome pruning, scientists have a new way to influence gene behavior.

In earlier work, Erez Lieberman Aiden of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and colleagues figured out that a specific stretch of DNA acts as a stop sign that sits at the ends of the loops DNA forms as it folds. Now, by changing those signals, the researchers could move, destroy and create loops, the team reports online the week of October 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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