DNA palindromes appear frequently and are widespread in human cancers, and identifying them could help advance the understanding of genomic instability, according to researchers writing in an advanced online publication of Nature Genetics for February 13.

While the scientists did not find similar widespread palindrome formation in four normal cell lines studied, "I anticipate we will identify palindromes on the somatic chromosomes of normal cells that might not have been mapped yet," coauthor Stephen Tapscott of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle told The Scientist.

In 2002, Meng-Chao Yao, also of the Hutchinson Center, and colleagues found the molecular mechanisms for palindrome formation in the protozoan Tetrahymena were conserved in mammalian cells and that it was an initial, rate-limiting step in gene amplification. Given amplification of large genomic regions contributes to tumor progression, the investigators explored what role DNA palindromes—already known to exist on the normal human...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?