Genetics in the News

Megan Freeman

Jumping Genes (AKA TRANSPOSONS)

With more understanding and knowledge of jumping genes, primarily known as transposons or retrotransposons, we can benefit from their silence or even their certain advantageous traits. Before these recent findings, jumping genes were only seen in a negative light. Therefore, I choose this topic to share some new-found knowledge that could lengthen or even save lives.


The three articles posted below all portray different stories but share a common ground; jumping genes can be beneficial when correctly understood and put to use. For example, discovering that certain proteins, called Sirt6, keep jumping genes from disrupting other DNA is a huge step toward delaying the aging process in humans. This newly found protein can possibly be injected so that jumping genes can be tamed and won't bounce around causing diseases such as various cancers, ("Keeping 'jumping genes'", 2014). According to Pittalwala (2013); new sets of transposons are helping to keep plants alive by enhancing their immunity. Jumping genes have also been reported to have helped corn's genes reform to grow as a tall stalk producing more product rather than growing in bushels and producing less, (Charles, 2011).


By better understanding these advantages of jumping genes in plants, genetics can only evolve in ways that better the lives of humans as well. The more knowledge obtained for these adverse transposons, the more likely we can find more positive discoveries involving them.

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Why Are These Findings Important to the Medical Community?

These findings are beneficial to the medical community in numerous ways. Some examples include cessation of spreading cancer and gaining the knowledge of negative and positive qualities of jumping genes. It is known that jumping genes cause some genetic mutations that cause cancerous cell growth, ("Keeping 'jumping genes'", 2014). With this understanding, medical field examiners can give exact reasoning as to why certain symptoms are happening to their patients caused by transposons as opposed to doubtful assumptions concerning them. Following reasoning comes answers; answers that could possibly reverse the disease's effects or at least stop it in it's tracks.


Jumping genes could impact future medicine practices as long as research continues. According to Pittalwala (2013); "the switch mechanism we discovered can be applied to all crop species that can be genetically modified.” In other words, the knowledge gained about how jumping genes affect a certain plant can be connected to how to it influences other plants. From here, the medical community can only build on this new knowledge, which may eventually be beneficial to humans.

Why are These Findings Important to Nurses?

Along with the medical community, these findings are important to nurses as well. As research prospers and more is understood, knowledge can be passed down to nurses so they can better assess and care for their patients who are affected by these jumping genes. If not having been done already, symptoms that correspond with genetic mutations caused by jumping genes will be discovered and will then be able to be cared for, which is where the nurse comes in. Doctors will be able to diagnosis the genetic change and nurses will be able to tend to it. As a future nurse myself, I'm excited to see what new discoveries will be made concerning transposons in the next few years.

Citations

Charles, D. (2011, October 3). Today's King Corn Can Thank A Jumping Gene. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2011/09/28/140875030/todays-king-corn-can-thank-a-jumping-gene


Keeping 'jumping genes' in check could help control some age-related diseases. (2014, September 25). Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/282953.php


Pittalwala, I. (2013, August 14). Researchers Discover Beneficial Jumping Gene. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/16990