Artificial mammalian origin of replication

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A collaboration of researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Virginia, led by Dr. Anindya Dutta, has created an artificial mammalian origin of replication that will facilitate the future study of mammalian DNA replication.

Dr. Dutta and colleagues recruited known mammalian replication initiation factors (either ORC or CDC6) to a defined GAL4 DNA-binding site on a plasmid, demonstrating that replication initiation factor recruitment is sufficient to specify a DNA replication origin.

The researchers have extended the classic transcription factor reporter assay to work for any eukaryotic replication initiation factor. The artificial mammalian replication origin will enable scientists to explore the mechanism of replication initiation, as well as "provide a new direction for creating vectors for gene therapy that are less mutagenic than current integrating vectors and that do not require viral proteins," explains Dr. Dutta.

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