Deleting a single gene causes other mutations in other parts of the genome

11/14/2013 - 00:00

Johns Hopkins researchers report that the deletion of any single gene in yeast cells puts pressure on the organism’s genome to compensate, leading to a mutation in another gene. Their discovery, which is likely applicable to human genetics because of the way DNA is conserved across species, could have significant consequences for the way genetic analysis is done in cancer and other areas of research, they say.

Summarized in a report to be published on Nov. 21 in the journal Molecular Cell, the team's results add new evidence that genomes, the sum total of species' genes, are like supremely intricate machines, in that the removal of a single, tiny part stresses the whole mechanism and might cause another part to warp elsewhere to fill in for the missing part.