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TIGR Finishes Deinococcus Radiodurans Sequence

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ROCKVILLE, Md.--Researchers at the Institute for Genomic Research have sequenced the genome of Deinococcus radiodurans, a bacteria with special structural qualities that allow it to withstand the effects of high levels of radiation. D. radiodurans can absorb radiation doses about 3,000 times the amount that would kill a person. Although radiation tears apart the bacteria's genome, the organism can repair its DNA in 24 hours--a process that may provide new insights into cellular repair and cancer, which is often caused by unrepaired DNA damage. Also, genetically engineering the microbe could lead to better pollution cleanup methods and other new industrial processes, said officials at TIGR and the US Department of Energy, which provided funding for the project. TIGR scientists collaborated with researchers from the US Department of Defense's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., in determining the order of approximately 3.3 million individual chemical base units that make up D. radiodurans' DNA. The research was published in the November 19 issue of Science.

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