A research team at the University of York has discovered that genes are regulated by unique structures called ‘nano footballs’. Although these structures have similar appearance like footballs, they are 10 million times smaller than the average ball.

Transcription factors are special chemicals that are found inside the cells and play a role in gene regulation such as controlling whether a gene is switched ‘off’ or ‘on’. Researchers placed tiny glowing probes on these transcription factors and gained a much better understanding of how genes are regulated.

Most importantly, the team found that transcription factors operate as a spherical football-like cluster of around 7 to 10 molecules measuring about 30 nanometers in diameter, and not as single molecules as was previously believed.
This latest discovery of nano footballs will aid Scientists to gain a better understanding of the fundamental ways in which genes function, and may also provide key insights on human health problems associated with cancer and other various genetic disorders.

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