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Emerging 'R&D' patterns in genes may reduce evolution's risks

s where the DNA was being shuffled and rearranged.

"We speculate in the paper that this division may correspond to a division that scientists have noticed in cells that are in the process of dividing," Hedgecock says.

Dividing cells have to make an additional copy of the DNA they contain, a task that requires them to unpack DNA from structures known as chromosomes where it is stored. Scientists have noticed that some portions of the chromosomes appear to get more thoroughly unpacked than others. The portions of the genome that are incompletely unpacked might be more susceptible to mutational processes, Hedgecock theorizes, while the genes that have established value are in the fully open areas.

"The analogy to industry is that you separate your research and development facility from your production facilityif you ever were to combine those two activities, it might be a disaster," says Hedgecock.

Other authors on the paper included Harald Hutter of the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany; and Bruce Vogel, an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins. Additional authors came from the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio; Washington University in St. Louis; and the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, also in Germany.


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Contact: Michael Purdy
mcp@jhu.edu
410-516-7160
Johns Hopkins University
9-Feb-2000


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