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A Link between DNA Transcription and Disease Causing Expansions Which Lead to Hereditary Disorders

Scientists have believed that the lengthening of those repeats occur during DNA replication when cells divide or when the cellular DNA repair machinery gets activated. Recently, however, Tufts University researchers have traced expansive repeats to the process called transcription, which is copying the information from DNA into RNA.

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NIH Scientists Determine How Environment Contributes to Several Human Diseases

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Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. The work, appearing online Nov. 17 in the journal Nature, provides a possible explanation for how one type of DNA damage may lead to cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Pain and Itch in a Dish

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A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has found a simple method to convert human skin cells into the specialized neurons that detect pain, itch, touch and other bodily sensations and are affected by spinal cord injury and involved in Friedreich’s ataxia.

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