Boris Magasanik Professor of Biology
areas of expertise: structure and function of genetic materials in eukaryotes, control of gene expression during development, heat shock response, transposable elements, rna metabolism, telomeres, genetics, cell biology, biology
As a geneticist and cell biologist, Mary-Lou Pardue has studied eukaryotic chromosomes with emphasis on sequences involved in the structure and function of chromosomes as organelles. Her group has found that the telomeres of the Drosophila chromosome are composed of multiple copies of two transposable elements rather than the short repeats, generated by telomerase, on the chromosome ends of most eukaryotic organisms.
The group speculates that the transposable elements that form Drosophila telomeres are evolutionarily related to components of telomerase. This speculation suggests that other transposable elements, those usually thought to be “parasites,” may also have evolved from mechanisms that the cell uses to maintain its chromosomes. This study may offer insights into both the evolution of chromosomes and the evolution of transposable elements and viruses.
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