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Posted: Apr 18, 2013
Scientists throw new light on DNA copying process
(Nanowerk News) Research led by a scientist at the University of York has thrown new light
on the way breakdowns in the DNA copying process inside cells can
contribute to cancer and other diseases.
Peter McGlynn, an Anniversary Professor in the University’s Department of
Biology, led a team of researchers who have discovered that the protein
machines that copy DNA in a model organism pause frequently during this
copying process, creating the potential for dangerous mutations to
The project focused on a bacterium called *Escherichia coli *which is a
powerful model for studying the DNA copying process, the study of which has
revealed many aspects of DNA metabolism in more complex organisms such as
Professor McGlynn, who was one of 16 Chairs established at York to mark the
University’s 50th Anniversary, says: “Our work demonstrates that when
organisms try to copy their genetic material, the copying machines stall
very frequently which is the first step in formation of mutations that, in
man, can cause cancers and genetic disease.
“We have analysed what causes most of these breakdowns and how, under
normal circumstances, cells repair these broken copying machines. Just as
importantly, our work reveals that efficient repair of these breakdowns is
very important to avoid corruption of the genetic code.”
The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences
Research Council (BBSRC).