A new way to discover DNA modifications

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Using their approach, which combines bioanalytical chemistry, comparative genomics, and a special type of DNA sequencing, the team has discovered a DNA modification that helps bacteria to protect their genomes from viral infection. Dedon and Valérie de Crécy-Lagard, a professor of microbiology and cell science at the University of Florida, decided to take a more systematic approach to discovering such modifications. Using comparative genomics, a technique for screening the genomes of different organisms for variants of specific DNA sequences, she found similar genes in multiple bacterial species, located in a specific gene cluster that contained genes for DNA modification. SMRT sequencing often picks up a signal when it encounters something other than the traditional four nucleosides. Antibiotic targets In humans, there are only a few known DNA modifications, most of which weren’t discovered until decades after the four traditional DNA bases were identified.

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