Research 786

Hypoxia Result in Permanent DNA Changes

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have proven that the genomes of flies exposed to long-term hypoxia are changed to permanently affect gene expression. Their findings are published online by the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). They may lead to new targets for development of therapies for hypoxia-induced disease in humans. The study was conducted by Gabriel G. Haddad, MD, chair of the UCSD Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and Dan Zhou, PhD, of the UCSD Department of Pediatrics. Hypoxia-induced injury not only occurs due to oxygen deprivation at very high or low altitudes, but can also occur in cases of heart attack, stroke or other neurological or respiratory conditions which diminish the supply of oxygen to vital tissues and organs. Because cellular mechanisms in fruit flies are very similar to those in human cells, the scientists studied populations of Drosophila melanogaster generated through long-term laboratory selection over 200 generations. These flies are capable of tolerating severe, normally fatal hypoxia, and pass their hypoxia tolerance trait to subsequent generations

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