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Homologous recombination and sequence homology mnemonics

Published: April 05, 2017. Updated: April 05, 2017

Homologous recombination is an important error-free process that is widely used to repair double strand breaks in DNA. The process involves a genetic recombination prodedure that utilizes nucleotide sequences from a similar or identical molecule of DNA to repair DNA breaks.

Definition

Sequence homology (or similarity) occurs when different segments of DNA or protein have similar sequences. This indicates that the two segments evolved (divergently) from a common ancestor (shared ancestry).

This is important in the field of bioinformatics by allowing us to identify the presence of putative genes in a novel sequence by searching and identifying similar sequences and examining their function.

Homologous recombination is an important error-free process that is widely used to repair double strand breaks in DNA. The process involves a genetic recombination process that utilizes nucleotide sequences from a similar or identical molecule of DNA to repair DNA breaks.

Homologous recombination is also the process by which new combinations of DNA sequences are produced during meiosis. These new combinations are responsible for genetic variation in offspring.

BRCA mutations

BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are important for homologous recombination repair of double-stranded DNA breaks. As a result, mutations in either of these genes leads errors in DNA repair and accumulation of DNA damage. The inability to properly repair complex DNA damage leads to genomic instability which in turn increases the risk of cancer. As a result, women with germline mutations in these genes are predisposed to hereditary cancer syndromes, especially breast and ovarian cancers.

PARP enzymes also play a role in homologous recombination repair of double-stranded DNA breaks. As a result, inhibitors of these enzymes were developed to target vulnerable cancers such as those with BRCA1/2 mutations who are already defective in DNA repair.



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