The Fine Art Of DNA Repair

A NASA publication discusses the investigation of DNA repair in the humble Halobacterium: "We have completely fragmented their DNA. I mean we have completely destroyed it by bombarding it with [radiation]. And they can reassemble their entire chromosome and put it back into working order within several hours." Damage to DNA - especially mitochondrial DNA - is associated with aging, and possibly a cause of age-related degeneration. While the NASA study is focused on repairing radiation damage incurred during space travel, knowledge relating to DNA repair could be turned to other tasks as well. A reliable DNA repair kit for humans would likely go a long way towards extending our healthy life spans.

Link: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/10sep_radmicrobe.htm?list687582

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