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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2012 Dec;53(9):645-65. doi: 10.1002/em.21731. Epub 2012 Sep 22.

Mouse models of DNA polymerases.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


In 1956, Arthur Kornberg discovered the mechanism of the biological synthesis of DNA and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1959 for this contribution, which included the isolation and characterization of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I. Now there are 15 known DNA polymerases in mammalian cells that belong to four different families. These DNA polymerases function in many different cellular processes including DNA replication, DNA repair, and damage tolerance. Several biochemical and cell biological studies have provoked a further investigation of DNA polymerase function using mouse models in which polymerase genes have been altered using gene-targeting techniques. The phenotypes of mice harboring mutant alleles reveal the prominent role of DNA polymerases in embryogenesis, prevention of premature aging, and cancer suppression.

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