Just as banks store away only the most valuable possessions in the most secure safes, cells prioritise which genes they guard most closely, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratorys European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) have found. The study, published online today in Nature, shows that bacteria have evolved a mechanism that protects important genes from random mutation, effectively reducing the risk of self-destruction. The findings answer a question that has been under debate for half a century and provide insights into how disease-causing mutations arise and pathogens evolve.
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