Tuesday, February 14, 2006


When DNA Turns On Itself

`A study conducted at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has shown that DNA itself can be a catalyst for cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Normal DNA is said to become problematic when it twists in the opposite direction to its familiar right hand spiral, thereby becoming what researchers have dubbed Z-DNA. [..]

The discovery that DNA can mutate into other shapes is not new to science, but Vasquez’s latest study actually shows how these mutated shapes occur within the cell. Previous studies found that the likelihood of Z-DNA forming at all is subject to the shape of the base pairs themselves. It is said, for example, that a consecutive sequence of CG 14 times over would likely form Z-DNA, while a consecutive sequence of AT would not. Based on these genomic studies, says Vasquez, the percentage of DNA sequences likely to form Z-DNA is 0.25 percent of the genome.’

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