DNA sequences that don't code for proteins and are repeated thousands or millions of times in the genome are more than just genomic deadwood: These regions contain promoter sequences that can instigate not only their own transcription, but the transcription of protein-coding genes as well, a study published online in Nature on Sunday (April 19th) reports. The paper is likely to spur a slew of new research into repetitive elements in the genome, said Philip Kapranov, principal genomicist at linkurl:Helicos BioSciences;http://www.helicosbio.com/ in Cambridge, MA, who wrote a commentary to the study to be published today in Genome Biology. "As a class [repetitive elements] are not just a junk DNA. They're not just parasites, but they can shape the architecture of the genome," he said. Repetitive elements such as retrotransposons -- sequences of DNA that can pop out of the genome, multiply with an RNA intermediate and then pop back in...
The Scientist

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