Mcclintock, Mclintock discussed on BBC World Service


Of jeans this happened she said not just in this corn chromosome battered and smashed to produce mutations but in other chromosomes and in other organisms to even when they're perfectly healthy it's a central part of the way genomes work she said so she spoke not about transposable elements but about controlling elements here mcclintock was both right and wrong she was right because these jumping genes now called transposons do exist and are actually quite common she was also right because there are elements in the genome that control genes turning them on and off like switches and dials this regulation of genes is crucial to the way life happens it means that different genes get switched on or off at different stages of development or in response to signals from the environment gene regulation is what enables cells with identity genomes to behave very differently from each other but this regulation seems to have little to do with transposons it was found in the nineteen sixties that most gene regulation is carried out by switches that sit right next to the jeans they control and stay there so mclintock's thinking was certainly ahead of its time that she didn't fully understand how transposons fitted into life scheme we'll see given a fair hearing yet caused puzzlement at the way she expressed her ideas was the problem that she didn't publish those ideas permanently enough all what she dismissed because she was a woman this is where the story.

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