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Published on Oct 19, 2012
"Epigenetics: Rewriting the information in DNA" Dr. Laura Landweber - Princeton University, Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Global DNA rearrangements occur in many cells, including several forms of cancer. The phenomenon is most exaggerated in some single-celled organisms known as ciliates. I will show how RNA molecules can provide a scaffold to orchestrate these DNA rearrangements, unveiling a new role for RNA in the cell. This provides an example of epigenetics, a term that describes forms of inheritance beyond the conventional DNA genome. A complete RNA cache of the parent's genome may transfer information across generations, hinting at the power of RNA molecules to sculpt the information in our genomes and providing a vehicle for Lamarckian inheritance.