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World's Tiniest First Responders

Scientists are still researching about DNA repair and its significance in aging and diseases like cancer. They are still learning about its significance amid the rise of genome editing and CRISPR. A new USC Dornsife study has revealed that the cell has its own paramedic team and emergency room which helps it in repairing any damaged DNA.

The findings are timely as scientists are researching deeply the potential of genome editing without thoroughly understanding the significance and impact of DNA damage and repair on diseases and aging. The work of Irene Chiolo, Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letter, Arts and Sciences is revealing more about the process. Chiolo and her team of researchers used fluorescent markers to track what happens when DNA is damaged in mouse cells and fruit fly cells. The observation was made that how the cells initiates an emergency response to repair broken DNA strands from a tightly packed DNA called heterochromatin.  The researchers have planned on further researching the repair of DNA in heterochromatin. They are excited to further observe how these molecular mechanisms will be uncovered in humans and plants too, that have much larger heterochromatin. It would be fascinating to discover that how this complex repair mechanism evolves over time and what aspects of these mechanisms may be adapted for other functions.

By: Neha Maheshwari