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Drosophila Chromosome Structure Group

Telomeres & Chromatin Structure

James M. Mason, Ph.D.
James M. Mason, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator - Retired
Special Volunteer
Tel (919) 541-4483
Fax (919) 541-7593
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop D3-01
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
Delivery Instructions

Research Summary

The goal of the Drosophila Chromosome Structure Group is to understand genome stability in the context of chromatin structure, focusing on the function of telomeres in Drosophila. Telomeres are structures on the ends of linear chromosomes that are required to distinguish natural chromosome ends from broken ends; the latter delay the cell cycle to allow for DNA repair. Telomeres also elongate chromosome ends to balance the loss of terminal sequences due to incomplete DNA replication and processing of chromosome ends. In addition, heterochromatin forms near chromosome ends and silences genes transposed to the vicinity of telomeres. The group is characterizing a mutator gene, mu2, whose mutations potentiate simple, one-break, deficiencies that have lost a piece of the chromosome containing a telomere that acquired a new telomere at the site of a double strand DNA break. The group is also investigating chromosome elongation and telomeric silencing in light of changes in chromatin structure at the chromosome end.


Major areas of research:


  • Genome stability in the context of chromatin structure
  • Structure and function of telomeres in Drosophila
  • Gene silencing in Drosophila


Current projects:


  • Telomere formation at broken chromosome ends ("/Rhythmyx/assembler/render?sys_contentid=46897&sys_revision=1&sys_variantid=639&sys_context=0&sys_authtype=0&sys_siteid=&sys_folderid=" sys_dependentvariantid="639" sys_dependentid="46897" inlinetype="rxhyperlink" rxinlineslot="103" sys_dependentid="46897" sys_siteid="" sys_folderid="")
  • Chromatin structure in Drosophila telomeres ("/Rhythmyx/assembler/render?sys_contentid=46896&sys_revision=1&sys_variantid=639&sys_context=0&sys_authtype=0&sys_siteid=&sys_folderid=" sys_dependentvariantid="639" sys_dependentid="46896" inlinetype="rxhyperlink" rxinlineslot="103" sys_dependentid="46896" sys_siteid="" sys_folderid="")


James M. Mason, Ph.D., heads the Drosophila Chromosome Structure Group within the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics. He received his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1976. He joined NIEHS in 1978 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He has published 67 peer-reviewed articles in leading biomedical journals, as well as several book chapters.

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