Scientists of the University of Sheffield identified the process of removal of DNA molecules from the iconic double-helical structure. Scientists were trying to unlock the mystery for over 20 years.
The research was published on 6 June 2016 in a Journal, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.
The new research has unlocked a crucial part of the mystery as to how the human DNA can replicate and repair itself. It is essential for all life forms.
Jon Sayers, the Professor of Functional Genomics at the University of Sheffield is the lead author of the study.
Main findings of the research
• The Branched DNA was identified in many episodes of the X-Files as Agent Scully suspects aliens inserted it in the blood. This branched DNA is formed every day in human bodies. It happens every time our cells divide.
• These branches are essential intermediates formed during the process of copying human DNA.
• The research team had captured snapshots of the molecular events in incredible detail and which were never seen before.
• They show how Flap EndoNuclease enzymes (FENs) trim branched DNA molecules after cells have divided.
• They found the FEN threads the free end of the branch through a hole in the enzyme before sliding along to the trunk. It acts like a pair of molecular secateurs, trimming the branch and restoring the iconic double-helix.
• The team used the Diamond Light Source called the UK's synchrotron which works like a giant microscope for their discovery.
• It harnesses the power of electrons to produce bright X-ray light which can used by the scientists to study to a vast range from fossils and jet engines to viruses and vaccines.
• DNA replication is essential for all life forms, so it is important to understand its performance at the level of molecule. It can provide the indepth information of the most basic cellular processes which are common to all life.
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When: Published on 6 June 2016
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