Dr. Lyubchenko unravels DNA strand, catches it on video

March 07, 2011

In many ways, our DNA acts like a yo-yo. It unwinds and then winds up so quickly that no one has seen it -- until now.

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Yuri Lyubchenko, Ph.D.
In every cell, our genetic material is coded on a DNA strand tightly wrapped around a spool-like protein, or histone, which makes it difficult to access.

Yuri Lyubchenko, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical science, has found a way to unravel the long DNA strand using an electrostatic charge and has captured that action on video. His discovery may lead to the successful application of gene therapy.

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Check out the online version of UNMC Discover to see videos from Dr. Lyubchenko of DNA unraveling.

So far, gene therapy, in which genes may be added or modified to prevent or treat illness, has not been successful because of an inability to deliver genes to the right cells.

"It's important to study the interactions of proteins with DNA so we understand how numerous biological processes occur," he said. "We need to know how to make the genetic code more accessible to proteins so it will be easier to replace, repair or regulate a faulty gene."

Read more about Dr. Lyubchenko's research in the latest edition of UNMC Discover.

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