Two UC Davis proffessors pose next to a large DNA model in the UC Davis Life Sciences building

Watching DNA unwind in real time

Stephen Kowalczykowski and the late Ron Baskin in the College of Biological Sciences pioneered a technique for watching a single enzyme unwinding a DNA molecule in real time. The work has led to new discoveries in the mechanics of how DNA is copied and repaired, processes that are vitally important to understanding the origins of cancer and birth defects. Kowalczykowski’s laboratory was also one of two at UC Davis, along with that of Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, to isolate the protein made by the breast cancer gene BRCA2. Identifying this protein allows researchers to study its link to cancer, potentially leading to prevention or treatments.

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