DNA breaks in nerve cells’ ancestors cluster in specific genes

The genome of developing brain cells harbors 27 clusters or hotspots where its DNA is much more likely to break in some places than others, researchers from the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (PCMM) at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute report in the journal Cell. Those hotspots appear in genes associated with brain tumors and a number of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions, raising new questions about these conditions’ origins, as well as how the brain generates a diversity of circuitry during development.

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