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  D. A Rare Disorder Sheds New Light On DNA

Narrator: This is Science Today. The genetic mechanisms of a rare, hereditary disorder called Cockayne Syndrome, has shed new light on how DNA repairs oxidative damage in the body. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Priscilla Cooper says oxidative damage is linked to a number of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and atherosclerosis.

Cooper: Our finding that a severe and fatal developmental disorder results from a genetic defect in the inability to repair oxidative damage, I think just underscores the importance of this process for every person, even in normal cells where when overwhelmed by oxidative damage, disease results.

Narrator: Cockayne Syndrome is an extremely rare, fatal disorder in which infants are sun sensitive, dwarfed and severely retarded.

Cooper: We’re mainly trying to understand the exact course of events that leads from the unrepaired DNA damage to the developmental defects in the children and we’re also trying to understand the molecular mechanisms of the repair process that what works in normal people to deal with this damage.

Narrator: For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.