BLACKSBURG, Va., May 17, 2004 - Dr. David Samuels, research assistant professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI), has an article involving genome analysis currently in press with the publication Trends in Genetics.

“Mitochondrial DNA repeats constrain the life span of mammals” involves mitochondrial DNA deletions, which are mutations found in elderly organisms of many species. These mutations are often caused by short segments of identically repeated DNA. In the article, Samuels analyzes the mitochondrial genomes of 61 mammalian species and shows that the typical life spans of these species are limited by the number of the longest repeats in each genome.

In addition, Samuels demonstrates that the number of repeats in each species’ mitochondrial genome is larger than would occur in a random sequence. These results imply a maximum life expectancy for mammals of 80 to 100 years.

Trends in Genetics is a forum for all aspects of current research in genetics, developmental biology and genomics. Every issue of Trends in Genetics contains concise, informed and timely reviews that synthesise for a non-specialist readership current topics in these fields. Also provided in Trends in Genetics are perspective articles, in which novel hypotheses are discussed, and comment pieces, which feature key recent developments in genetics.

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Published by Public Relations, May 16, 2004