Thickly forested slopes define the environs around Heidelberg, Germany, the headquarters of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. In her hillside EMBL laboratory, Orsolya Barabas probes the small pieces of moveable DNA that define the landscape of modern genomes.
Surprisingly few people have heard of transposons. These “jumping genes” have been flitting around genomes for millions of years, changing locations or introducing new copies of themselves all over the place in plants and animals. They escaped notice until the 1940s, when Barbara McClintock observed them in maize, where they dominate the DNA, eventually earning her a Nobel ...Find out More »