Friday, 9 July 2010

Another piece in the puzzle

A research team from Dundee University have discovered a new protein which is involved in repairing DNA.
The story below is taken from the BBC website:

"They have discovered a protein, known as FAN1, which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy DNA.
Researchers described the protein as "molecular scissors" which repair damaged DNA in human cells.
This could help to prevent mutations which eventually lead to cancer.
Dr John Rouse, who is heading the team behind the discovery, said a major problem with DNA is that it is regularly damaged.
He said: "If DNA damage is not fixed quickly then these instructions are changed and the result is mutations - undesirable changes in DNA - that can cause the cell to become abnormal."
The team found that during the natural DNA repair process, DNA 'flaps' are produced that need to be trimmed if the repair is to be completed.
These leftover pieces of DNA can get in the way during the repair process so must be removed.
FAN1 carries out this task, acting as "molecular scissors", said Dr Rouse.

An amazing discovery which could have wide reaching implications.
The BBC, not surprisingly, focus on the possible implications for cancer research.
But it's important to realise that these benefits could be many, many years off.


CherryPie said...

That is a fascinating discovery.

Anonymous said...

Smartest molecules on the planet, the proteins.