How Cells Hack Their Own Genes
Published:31 Aug.2017    Source:Science Daily
DNA in all organisms from yeast to humans encodes the genes that make it possible to live and reproduce. But these beneficial genes make up only 2% of our DNA. In fact, more than two-thirds of our genome is populated by selfish genes that only care about their own replication -- so-called genetic parasites. Scattered throughout the genomes of plants, fungi, and animals, they can jump from one genomic location to another.

Although they can be important for generating diversity in the genome, they can also cause lethal mutations or sterility. Just as bacteria use the CRISPR/Cas9 system to identify and cleave viruses invading their DNA, eukaryotic cells have developed various strategies to protect the genome and silence these selfish genetic parasites.