The Atlantic

The Mysterious ‘Jumping Gene’ That Appears 500,000 Times in Human DNA

Its segments make up 17 percent of our genome, but scientists are only just starting to understand what it does.
Source: Science Photo Library / Steve Gschmeissner / Getty

For years, tried to convince researchers in his lab to study a segment of DNA he personally thought was quite extraordinary: LINE1. It’s repeated half a million times in the human genome, making up nearly a fifth of the DNA in every cell. But nobody in his lab wanted to study it. “It was sort of a running joke in the lab,” says Ramalho-Santos, a

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