Study unlocks secrets of an elusive genome compartment

phys.org | 2/7/2019 | Staff
rubydrummer (Posted by) Level 3
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Although much of the human genome has been sequenced and assembled, scientists have hit roadblocks trying to map unassembled regions of DNA that consist mostly of repetitive sequences, including the centromere.

Now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Connecticut and University of Rochester have sequenced all the centromeres in a multicellular organism.

Journal - PLOS - Biology - Study - Fruit

Published in the journal PLOS Biology, the study on fruit flies sheds light on a fundamental aspect of biology, and shows that genetic elements may play a larger role in centromere function than researchers previously thought.

"Centromeres continue to be widely considered the 'black hole' of genomics," says Barbara Mellone, associate professor of molecular and cell biology at UConn and lead author on the study. "We break through these barriers and leverage the power of single molecule long-read sequencing and chromatin fiber imaging to discover the detailed organization of the centromeres."

Fruit - Fly - Drosophila - Melanogaster - Examples

The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is one of the most revered examples in biology of a model organism, or species that has been extensively studied for a long time in the lab in order to better understand its biology and to apply those lessons to human health. In the context of centromere biology, Drosophila is especially powerful because it only has four pairs of chromosomes as opposed to the 23 in humans, and the centromeres are smaller than those of humans and thus relatively easier to sequence and assemble.

If centromeres, vital for cell division, don't function properly, cells may divide with...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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