Combing the genome for genomic instability

Caburet, S.; Conti, C.; Bensimon, A.

Trends in Biotechnology 20(8): 344-350


ISSN/ISBN: 0167-7799
PMID: 12127282
DOI: 10.1016/s0167-7799(02)01990-x
Accession: 010347599

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Genomic instability is one of the major features of cancer cells. The clinical phenotypes associated with several human diseases have been linked to recurrent DNA rearrangements and dysfunction of DNA replication processes that involve unstable genomic regions. Analysis of these rearrangements, which are frequently submicroscopic and can lead to loss or gain of dosage-sensitive genes or gene disruption, requires the development of sensitive, high-resolution techniques. This will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying genome instability and a greater awareness of the role of chromosomal rearrangements in disease. A new technology that involves molecular combing, a method that permits straightening and aligning molecules of genomic DNA, should make possible a detailed analysis of genomic events at the level of single DNA molecules. Such a single molecule approach could help to elucidate important properties that are masked in bulk studies.