Ahituv asks why some DNA is ultraconserved

Research by Nadav Ahituv, PhD, faculty member in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, shows that laboratory mice that had specific sequences of their DNA removed eat, grow, and reproduce normally. The stretches of DNA deleted by Ahituv are referred to as ultraconserved DNA that have been protected throughout evolution and are shared by humans. As in classic genetic research, Ahituv "took out" ultraconserved DNA sequences—one by one—to see what happened. He was surprised that, in fact, nothing happened. In retrospect, the results are more interesting, says Ahituv, who expected to see effects such as fertility problems. Why are these elements conserved over time? Ahituv is investigating. Learn more about Ahituv's research on Science Café, a UCSF weekly column highlighting the culture, conduct, and community of science:

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Mice or Men? How Important Is Conserved DNA? A Conversation with Geneticist Nadav Ahituv

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.