Molecular Biology

RNAs Amplify

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Science  10 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6010, pp. 1457
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6010.1457-d

Eukaryotic unicellular ciliates contain two nuclei, a micronucleus and a macronucleus. After sexual reproduction, the macronucleus is derived from the micronucleus through DNA rearrangements, which include gene processing, the removal of all noncoding material, and the amplification of the exons of coding genes. Heyse et al. and Nowacki et al. now investigate the influence of RNAs on gene amplification within the macronucleus of the ciliates Stylonychia and Oxsytricha, respectively. Both groups found that DNA copy numbers decreased when additional complementary RNAs were added and increased upon the addition of anti-complementary RNAs. Future studies should describe the underlying mechanism behind these results and determine whether RNA-mediated DNA amplifications and reductions are limited to the ciliates or also occur in other organisms.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1009284107; 10.1073/pnas.1012236107 (2010).

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