Biotech Updates

Map Reveals Cancer Hotspots

February 24, 2012

A research team from the Australian National University developed a strategy that would help other researchers search for the key genetic information that dictates development of cancer. Led by Prof. Thomas Preiss, the team used a new mapping technique to expose cancer-related signals in the ribonucleic acid (RNA).

"RNA acts as a messenger, carrying genetic information to the parts of the cell in which proteins are made. Enzymes in the cell can modify RNA, leaving ‘sign posts', known as m5C sites," Professor Preiss said. "The enzymes that modify RNA have proven connections to cancer and stem cell biology. Understanding the patterns of these modifications will help cancer researchers focus their attention on the contribution that RNA makes to cancer."

The team mapped the said modifications in the RNA for the first time and was able to identify more than 10,000 new sites. Results of their study further revealed that these sites were more widespread than previously perceived, and occurred near genetic landmarks.

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