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‘Quadruple helix’ DNA found in human cells; discovery could lead to better cancer treatments

Ross Cronkrite | Science Recorder | January 21, 2013

‘Quadruple helix’ DNA found in human cells; discovery could lead to better cancer treatments

Researchers discover “quadruple helix” DNA in living human cells.

Researchers from Cambridge University have discovered four-stranded “quadruple helix” in living human cells. Quadruple helix DNA structures take shape in regions of DNA that are full of the building block guanine. The findings represent more than a decade of research by scientists to reveal these structures in human cells. The research also reveals clear connections between concentrations of quadruple helix DNA and the process of DNA replication, which is an important part of cell division and production.

Researchers believe that their findings could lead to better cancer treatments. For example, by targeting quadruple helix DNA with synthetic molecules that ensnare and contain these DNA structures, researchers think that it may be possible to stop the out-of-control cell generation at the root of cancer.

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