The neurons of people with Rett syndrome contain an overabundance of retrotransposons — DNA sequences that copy and insert themselves into new spots throughout the genome — during early development, according to a study published 18 November in Nature.
Retrotransposons, also known as 'jumping genes,' make up nearly half of the mammalian genome. Long labeled as 'junk DNA,' these genes may have a biological function and influence disease, say researchers.
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Image courtesy of Alysson Muotri.