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Drosophila Chromosome Structure Group

Telomeres & Chromatin Structure

James M. Mason, Ph.D.
James M. Mason, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Tel (919) 541-4483
Fax (919) 541-7593

P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop D3-01
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
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Research Summary

The goal of the Drosophila Chromosome Structure Group is to understand genome stability in the context of chromatin structure, focusing on the function of telomeres in Drosophila. Telomeres are structures on the ends of linear chromosomes that are required to distinguish natural chromosome ends from broken ends; the latter delay the cell cycle to allow for DNA repair. Telomeres also elongate chromosome ends to balance the loss of terminal sequences due to incomplete DNA replication. In addition, heterochromatin forms near chromosome ends and silences genes transposed to the vicinity of telomeres. The group is characterizing a mutator gene, mu2, whose mutations increase the frequency of simple, one-break, deficiencies that have acquired a new telomere at the site of a double strand DNA break. The group is also investigating chromosome elongation and telomeric silencing in light of changes in chromatin structure and the function of Tis11 in regulating development.

Major areas of research:

  • Genome stability in the context of chromatin structure
  • Structure and function of telomeres in Drosophila
  • Gene silencing in Drosophila
  • Gene regulation during development

Current projects:

James M. Mason, Ph.D., heads the Drosophila Chromosome Structure Group within the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics. He received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1976. He has published 67 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals, as well as several book chapters. He joined NIEHS in 1978 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Davis.

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Last Reviewed: January 02, 2009