• Question: It seems that you know a lot about transposons and you research is very good however what can this research bring to the future

    Asked by to Richard on 18 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by .
    • Photo: Richard Badge

      Richard Badge answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      That’s a great question – as you say knowing about transposons does not immediately make you think of a way in which they could be useful…

      A good example is their potential to be used in gene therapy – this is where genes are put into a cell to try to fix genes that are broken in diseases. As all that transposons do is move DNA around they can be engineered to move the genes we want, into the DNA of people with diseases.

      Because transposons have been parts of our DNA for millions of years, our immune system does not recognise them as “foreign”, unlike the viruses that are the basis of current gene therapy systems. Also the most advanced gene therapy transposons can only jump once – i.e. once they add a gene to the genome, they then don’t jump again, which is a good way to make sure they do not do more harm than good…