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Jumping' genes role in blood cancers

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    14th Apr, 2021


US scientists have found that jumping genes can protect against certain blood cancers and they can also help in developing new therapeutic targets.

What are Jumping genes?

  • Jumping genes are also known as transposons.
  • DNA segments: They are DNA sequences that can move or jump from one location to another location in the genome after activation.
  • Mutation:Jumping genes act as mutating agents and are behind several human diseases.
  • Alter the sequence: Jumping genes change the gene sequence and genome size.
    • It results in duplication of the same genetic material.

About the key findings

  • Prediction:The findings show that jumping genes can help in predicting the response of cancer therapies.
    • It can also help suggest the therapeutic targets for acute myeloid leukemia.
  • Studied transposon: A transposon that is known as long interspersed element-1 (L1) retro transposons was studied during the study.
    • Activation of L1 leads to genome instability which can activate DNA damage response that triggers cell death or prevents the cell's ability to replicate.
    • A known regulator of L1, that is MPP8, is found to be essential for cancer cell survival.
      • MPP8 blocks the activity of L1 and helps in cancer cell survival
      • Inactivation of MPP8 triggers L1 to turn on its damaging activity.

Significance of the study

  • As they help in the degeneration of the DNA sequence of cancer cells, they could be a potential source of therapeutic agent for cancer therapy.