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Med Hypotheses. 2000 May;54(5):750-60.

A new look at the challenging world of tandem repeats.

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EuroBioPark c/o Parco Scientifico, Università di Roma 'Tor Vergata', Rome, Italy.


Recent research has shown a correlation between some genetic diseases and genomic sequences tandemly repeated a variable and excessive number of times. The excessive number of tandem repeats is usually caused by a progressive expansion, generally considered as purely harmful. We put forward a number of hypotheses: the main one is that the number of repeats has normally a specific significance, and that there exist purposive mechanisms having as a primary function the management of tandem repeats length; such a function is generally useful and only rarely may it become harmful, because of some malfunctioning. These hypotheses are suggested by plausibility arguments, and are supported by a number of recent experimental results. They could provide a simple and unifying explanation of many pathological and non-pathological phenomena replacing many ad hoc assumptions. We finally propose to call the study of the above tandem repeat managing mechanisms 'dynamical genetics'.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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