Thursday, April 6, 2017

New Discoveries About How DNA is Organized In Bacteria

After 5 years of work, a research team led by Luis Serrano discovered new structures in the genome of a small bacteria species.  The species, known as M.pneumoniae, is shown in the above picture.
Many larger cells, such as E.coli and eukaryotic cells, organize their DNA into groups using binding proteins.  These groups enable the cell to quickly turn gene expression on and off as needed.  The research team discovered that M.pneumoniae, despite being significantly smaller than other cells that have been studied, also had these structures in its genome.  The secondary link above provides more information of the method the research team used to study the bacteria.

Overall, I was surprised by this finding.  I always thought that bacterial genomes were just a loop, with no real organizing.  Not only is it surprising that there are organizing structures, but that they exist in a bacteria as small as M.pneumoniae.  This leaves me wondering if larger bacteria or eukaryotic cells have more complex structures for organizing.

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