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“Intelligent” DNA helps repair cell damage and prevent tumors

| | December 7, 2016

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

It’s only thanks to a mechanism in our cells that can recognize when something has gone wrong that we aren’t all riddled with cancer.

That mechanism, known as the DNA damage response, functions like an individual intelligent agent, able to monitor when things are going wrong and then try to come up with a way to deal with them.

Discoveries explaining how that mechanism works are so significant that…geneticist Stephen Elledge [at Harvard Medical School] was awarded one of five $3 million Breakthrough Prizes in life sciences.

“One of the remarkable properties of nature’s most remarkable molecule, DNA, is self-awareness: it can detect information about its own integrity and transmit that information back to itself,” Elledge [stated].

When this response detects damaged DNA, it can respond in several ways. It may try to repair the damage, but it may also activate the immune system, cause the cell to destroy itself, or trigger a process known as senescence — which helps prevent tumors but is also largely responsible for aging.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: A Harvard scientist just won $3 million for discovering the hidden ‘intelligence’ that defends our cells

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