June 15, 2021  |  Presentation

The Evolution and Function of a Large Tandem Repeat Associated with ALS

In this talk, Dr. Meredith Course presents her research on uncovering a 69-bp human-specific tandem repeat expansion in the final intron of WDR7. Larger repeat copy number is significantly associated with sporadic ALS cases, suggesting that it plays a role in disease susceptibility. Long-read sequencing reveals remarkable internal nucleotide variation, which was harnessed to determine the evolutionary origin of the expansion, its mechanism of replication, and its current state in modern-day humans. Each copy of the repeat has been determined to be able to form microRNAs and aggregate in cells and may sequester ALS-related RNA-binding proteins.

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