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A C-fern (Ceratopteris richardii) in a pot
Genome Spotlight: C-fern (Ceratopteris richardii)
Sequences for the model organism and two of its kin reveal how these plants got their oversized genomes.
Genome Spotlight: C-fern (Ceratopteris richardii)
Genome Spotlight: C-fern (Ceratopteris richardii)

Sequences for the model organism and two of its kin reveal how these plants got their oversized genomes.

Sequences for the model organism and two of its kin reveal how these plants got their oversized genomes.

transposons
artistic representation of jumping gene
Jumping Genes Can Cause Movement Disorder: Study
Sophie Fessl, PhD | Sep 13, 2022 | 3 min read
Mice with overactive LINE-1 retrotransposons in their brains exhibit movement difficulties, suggesting the genetic elements may play a role in ataxia in humans. 
Illustration of a DNA virus sneaking genetic material into a host’s nucleus
Infographic: Possible Mechanisms of Gene Transfer in Eukaryotes
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 6 min read
Genetic studies have made it clear that eukaryotic horizontal gene transfer can and does happen. Exactly how, though, remains speculative.
A mole-rat poses in the grass 
The Scientist Speaks - Exploring the Secrets to Longevity and Cancer Resistance in Mole-Rats
The Scientist’s Creative Services Team | 1 min read
Vera Gorbunova discusses what naked and blind mole-rat cells reveal about aging and cancer resistance mechanisms. 
Cow image
Slideshow: Examples of Eukaryotic Horizontal Gene Transfer
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 4 min read
Horizontally transferred genes play significant roles in eukaryotic genomes
Landscape illustration
Horizontal Gene Transfer Happens More Often Than Anyone Thought
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jul 5, 2022 | 10+ min read
DNA passed to and from all kinds of organisms, even across kingdoms, has helped shape the tree of life, to a large and undisputed degree in microbes and also unexpectedly in multicellular fungi, plants, and animals.
a microscope image of a rotifer
Bacterial Enzyme Keeps Rotifers’ Transposable Elements in Check
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Mar 3, 2022 | 5 min read
Jumping genes in bdelloid rotifers are tamped down by DNA methylation performed by an enzyme pilfered from bacteria roughly 60 million years ago, a study finds.
Human DNA abstract dotwork vector illustration made of cloud of colored dots.
Adapting with a Little Help from Jumping Genes
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jan 17, 2022 | 10+ min read
Long lambasted as junk DNA or genomic parasites, transposable elements turn out to be contributors to adaptation.
Organisms from infographic about transposable elements
Infographic: How Transposable Elements Can Shape Evolution
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jan 17, 2022 | 2 min read
The movements of so-called jumping genes can generate the genetic diversity needed to drive evolutionary change in populations over time.  
A compilation of several images, including a dog, a blind mole rat, and cell micrographs
Our Favorite Cancer Stories of 2021
Amanda Heidt | Dec 9, 2021 | 4 min read
This year revealed just how much scientists have learned about the disease, from how animals become naturally cancer-resistant to how tumor cells harness extracellular DNA to develop rapid drug resistance.
blind mole rat
Blind Mole Rats Use Junk DNA to Combat Cancer
Ruth Williams | Sep 30, 2021 | 3 min read
Activation of retrotransposons in the animals’ cancerous cells sets off an innate immune response that triggers cell death.
close-up of a retina showing blood vessels and a damaged spot
DNA in Cell Cytoplasm Implicated in Age-Related Blindness
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 29, 2021 | 5 min read
A new study suggests that DNA synthesized in the cell cytoplasm drives retinal cell death in an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
silhouette of a chimpanzee swinging against a blue sky
Alu Leap May Explain Why Apes Don’t Have Tails
Annie Melchor | Sep 23, 2021 | 2 min read
A transposable element that jumped into the TBXT gene, which is linked to tail morphology, appears to be to blame for our missing appendage.
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
Jef Akst | Jul 13, 2020 | 2 min read
As male Drosophila grow old, selfish genetic elements that are abundant on the Y chromosome become more active, which appears to reduce longevity.
Transposons Identified as Likely Cause of Undiagnosed Diseases
Jef Akst | Jan 13, 2020 | 4 min read
A tool for identifying jumping gene insertions in DNA sequencing data turns up possible explanations for four patients’ rare developmental disorders.
Taming the Transposon Hordes
Ruth Williams | Jan 1, 2019 | 3 min read
Researchers repurpose the CRISPR machinery to turn whole classes of transposable elements on or off.
Jumping Genes Inactivated with CRISPR in Pigs
Shawna Williams | Aug 10, 2017 | 2 min read
The study could pave the way for transplanting porcine organs to humans without the risk of reigniting endogenous retroviruses.
A Walk on the Wild Side
Mary Beth Aberlin | Feb 1, 2017 | 3 min read
Plants have so much to teach us.
RNA Pathway Helps Keep Flies Alive
Ben Andrew Henry | Dec 21, 2016 | 1 min read
An anti-transposon pathway previously thought to function only in reproductive tissue also helps reduce harmful mutations in body cells of fruit flies.
Gene Behind Black Peppered Moth’s Color Change Identified
Tanya Lewis | Jun 6, 2016 | 2 min read
A transposon underlies this classic story of evolutionary adaptation.
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