Congress Passes Zika Funding BillCongress passed and President Obama signed a 10-week continuing resolution, which includes $1.1 billion for Zika virus research.
The mechanism of chromosome segregation is one of the last major problems to be solved in our understanding the fundamentals of DNA including replication, repair, transcription and segregation. Long-chain polymers such as DNA tend to adopt the most disordered state (that is, they have high entropy), and the recoil from less disorder to greater disorder results in an inward spring force. The major question Dr. Bloom's labortory would like to address is whether a DNA spring can function in the force range that is pertinent for chromosome segregation. Although DNA is not covalently linked to spindle microtubules or microtubule-based motor proteins, it may act as a spring in its capacity to store energy and exert a repulsion force for chromosome segregation in mitosis. The lab's long-term goal is to apply polymer physics to the chromosome and mitotic spindle to understand how chromosome architecture contributes to segregation. The physical concepts often seem counterintuitive, and it is essential to remember that the scale and forces at work inside the cell are not immediately obvious to us in our everyday lives.