Researchers discover microDNA
Contrary to popular belief, recent research conducted by University Medical School researchers found DNA can exist outside of cell chromosomes. The University research team, led by Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Prof. Anindya Dutta, discovered the presence of small, circular microDNA in both mouse and human tissue. These microDNAs are about the same size as the nucleosomes, or the DNA packaging, of our cells.
Researchers believe the creation of microDNA can lead to genetic variation caused by "microdeletions," as the DNA replicates or repairs itself.
"The resulting genetic variation in our tissues could be important for diseases like schizophrenia or autism that have a genetic predisposition, but for which a single gene with a causative mutation has not yet been found," Dutta said in a University press release.
Researchers believe microDNA is likely created during DNA replication or DNA repair, but much more research is needed for a definitive conclusion.
-compiled by Elissa Trieu