RNA molecules are shown to guide genome rearrangement in new cells in a paper published online in Nature. Laura Landweber and colleagues demonstrate that in the ciliate Oxytricha trifallax, maternal RNA could serve as a template for chromosomal rearrangements in new cells.
Genome-wide rearrangement of DNA takes place in many eukaryotes, but is most exaggerated and therefore easiest to study in ciliates. O. trifallax cuts up and removes most of its nuclear DNA during one developmental stage, stitching 5% of its chromosomes back together at specific points. The team show the rearrangement is controlled by maternal RNA that remains in the new cell by removing RNAs and demonstrating the disruption of proper assembly. Their finding suggests a previously unknown role for RNA in genome rearrangement in vivo.
Laura Landweber (Princeton University, NJ, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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