December 20, 2012
The UVa School of Medicine is being recognized for its contribution to DNA research.
UVa worked with the University of North Carolina to discover "microDNA", which are DNA elements that aren't part of the normal DNA structures.
It is believed that microDNA could be the genetic link for autism and schizophrenia.
The discovery made the top ten list for research advances by the Director National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Thomas R. Insel.
“Who knew that microDNA segments could be transmitted independently of chromosomes?," said Insel. "There appear to be thousands of short (200-400 bases long) circular DNA elements that function free of the well-known structured bundles of DNA called chromosomes in mammalian cells.”
The research was led by Anindya Dutta, MD, PhD, Chairman of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the UVa School of Medicine.
Insel’s complete list of the year’s biggest research advances can be read on his blog at www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2012/the-top-ten-research-advances-of-2012.shtml
The original press release on the discovery of microDNA can be found in the UVA Health Newsroom: http://uvahealth.com/about/news-room/archives/uva-led-team-discovers-new-type-of-dna-outside-chromosomes