Research News

Molecular Biology: Counterfeit Chromosomes for Humans

Science  04 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5309, pp. 38-39
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5309.38

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Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Athersys Inc., both in Cleveland, report constructing the first wholly synthetic, self-replicating, human “microchromosomes,” which are one-fifth to one-tenth the size of normal human chromosomes. Although the team hasn't yet found an efficient way of transplanting microchromosomes’ self-assembling components into new cells--a crucial step before researchers can exploit them fully--human artificial chromosomes could eventually be used to study chromosomal functions and to ferry “repair genes” into target cells in gene therapy.