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Jumping genes to help in blood cancer. Pixabay

US scientists have found that transposons, also known as jumping genes, can protect against certain blood cancers and help develop new therapeutic targets. Transposons are DNA sequences that can move, or jump, from one location in the genome to another when activated. These “jumping” genes are a source of genetic mutations responsible for a number of human diseases.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, can help predict how patients will respond to cancer therapies and find new therapeutic targets for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) — the deadliest type of blood cancer in adults and children. In the study, a team of scientists at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) at the University of Texas Southwestern focussed on a type of transposons known as long interspersed element-1 (L1) retrotransposons.


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They found that activating L1 can lead to genome instability and, in turn, it can activate a DNA damage response that triggers cell death or eliminates the cell’s ability to replicate itself. When researchers screened human AML cells to identify genes essential for cancer cell survival, they found MPP8 — a known regulator of L1 — to be selectively required by AML cells.

ALSO READ: Blood Cancer Risk Higher Than Expected In Kids

Analyzing human and mouse leukemia cells, they found that MPP8 blocked the copying of L1 sequences in the cells that initiate AML, and when the activity of L1 was turned on, it could impair the growth or survival of AML cells. MPP8 thus suppressed L1 in order to safeguard the cancer cell genome and allow AML-initiating cells to survive and proliferate.

“Our initial finding was a surprise because it’s been long thought that activated transposons promote cancer development by generating genetic mutations. We found it was the opposite for blood cancers, and that decreased L1 activity was associated with worse clinical outcomes and therapy resistance in patients,” said Jian Xu, Associate Professor in the CRI. (IANS/SP)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)