The Atlantic

The Mysterious ‘Jumping Gene’ That Appears 500,000 Times in Human DNA

Its segments make up 17 percent of our genome, but scientists are only just starting to understand what it does.
Source: Science Photo Library / Steve Gschmeissner / Getty

For years, tried to convince researchers in his lab to study a segment of DNA he personally thought was quite extraordinary: LINE1. It’s repeated half a million times in the human genome, making up nearly a fifth of the DNA in every cell. But nobody in his lab wanted to study it. “It was sort of a running joke in the lab,” says Ramalho-Santos, a

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic11 min read
Why Everyone Should Sleep Alone
The bedroom can seem to contain the heart of a marriage. In the 2012 Judd Apatow movie This Is 40, the epicenter of marital tension is the bedroom of the onscreen couple, played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. Pete and Debbie are as comely as their Los
The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
The GOP’s Witnesses Aren’t Helping Trump
If Republicans thought Kurt Volker and Timothy Morrison would bust the Democrats’ case for impeachment, they were likely disappointed by what they heard today.
The Atlantic8 min readPolitics
Trump’s White-Nationalist Vanguard
The emails of a key presidential aide show an extremist ideology influencing policy in the White House.