The Hotair of Cancer


By getting chromatin status in cells to revert back to its embryonic state, the large, intervening, non-coding RNA Hotair promotes cancer cell metastasis, and is a marker for breast cancer prognosis. In a series of experiments, Stanford University's Howard Chang and his team focused on Hox loci. "It's been called the Rosetta Stone of developmental biology," he says, since the genes there act to tell cells where they are located in the body. A few years ago, Chang's lab systematically assayed and identified a few hundred RNA-transcribed regions in Hox.

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