In DepthGenomics

Circular DNA throws biologists for a loop

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Science  09 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6342, pp. 996
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6342.996

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Are geneticists ready for the circulome? At a recent Biology of Genomes meeting, a biologist showed off a new method to extensively survey human cells for mysterious, sometimes gene-filled loops known as extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA). These genetic rings, which come in varying sizes, are gaining new respect as researchers find more evidence that eccCDNA plays roles in health and disease, particularly in cancer. Recent work shows the biggest ones are abundant in many cancer cells but not healthy cells and that these circles may aid the cancer's evolution and recurrence. Another new paper even suggests the DNA loops are released to influence distant cells.