Real-time observation of the DNA-repair mechanism

May 22, 2008

For the first time, researchers at Delft University of Technology have witnessed the spontaneous repair of damage to DNA molecules in real time. They observed this at the level of a single DNA molecule. Insight into this type of repair mechanism is essential as errors in this process can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Researchers from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience Delft are to publish an article on this in the leading scientific journal Molecular Cell.

Cells have mechanisms for repairing the continuous accidental damage occurring in DNA. These damages can vary from a change to a single part of the DNA to a total break in the DNA structure. These breaks can, for instance, be caused by ultraviolet light or X-rays, but also occur during cell division, when DNA molecules split and form two new DNA molecules. If this type of break is not properly repaired it can be highly dangerous to the functioning of the cell and lead to the creation of a cancerous cell.

One major DNA-repair mechanism involved in repairing these breaks is known as homologous recombination. This mechanism has been observed for the first time by Delft University of Technology researchers in real time and at the level of a single DNA molecule.

To observe this, a DNA molecule is stretched between a magnetic bead and a glass surface. A force is exerted on the magnetic bead using a magnetic field, enabling researchers to pull and rotate a single DNA molecule in a controlled fashion. As the position of the bead changes when the DNA molecule is repaired, researchers are able to observe the repair process in detail.

Source: Delft University of Technology

Explore further: US charges safari owners with illegal rhino hunts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tablets, cars drive AT&T wireless gains—not phones

7 hours ago

AT&T says it gained 2 million wireless subscribers in the latest quarter, but most were from non-phone services such as tablets and Internet-connected cars. The company is facing pricing pressure from smaller rivals T-Mobile ...

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

7 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Recommended for you

Cat dentals fill you with dread?

12 hours ago

A survey published this year found that over 50% of final year veterinary students in the UK do not feel confident either in discussing orodental problems with clients or in performing a detailed examination of the oral cavity ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

HenisDov
not rated yet May 23, 2008
Observation Of Natural Repair Of DNA molecule

http://www.physfo...ic=14988&st=225&#entry343119

A. Researchers observed natural DNA-repair by homologous recombination mechanism

http://www.physor...450.html

B. Beautiful technology, beautiful work and beautiful results.

However, strange insistence on clinging, in discussing the work, to ancient pre-enlightenment terms:

http://www.tudelf...94cd6937&lang=en

Human cells do not repair nor do anything. Cells are not organisms. The outer cell membrane, the OCM, is an organ, a multifunctional organ of the genome that resides within it. It is the genome that is the organism, that does things, including its own repair.

When a DSB occurs it is not simply a structural or mechanical damage in a link within the OCM, not merely a "double-strand break in a DNA or protein". A DSB is a damage to the organism, to the genome. And it is the in-OCM organism, the genome, that orchestrates all the goings-on within its OCM including its own repair.

C. Eventually

Eventually humans, including "scientists", will comprehend that Earth life are Genomes, and that all Outer Cell Membraned, cellular organisms, are elaborations formed and maintained by their genomes for the survival of the genomes...

Dov Henis