Circular DNA throws biologists for a loop

Well, the biological community is finally starting to wake up to the fact that circular DNA may have some valid reason for more rigorous study because it comes in all different sizes, packed with (guess what?) chromosomal genes! These circles appear abundant in cancer cells, but apparently, they are having a hard time finding them in normal cells. They call them “circulomes”. Fine by me. It only took them 20+ years to catch up to what I have been saying all along.  Better late than never, I guess. Here is a summary of the work:


Are geneticists ready for the circulome? At a recent Biology of Genomes meeting, a biologist showed off a new method to extensively survey human cells for mysterious, sometimes gene-filled loops known as extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA). These genetic rings, which come in varying sizes, are gaining new respect as researchers find more evidence that eccCDNA plays roles in health and disease, particularly in cancer. Recent work shows the biggest ones are abundant in many cancer cells but not healthy cells and that these circles may aid the cancer’s evolution and recurrence. Another new paper even suggests the DNA loops are released to influence distant cells.

I too, found circles in mouse L-1210 cancer cells. However, I had to dislodge them from the chromosomes before I could see them and I very much doubt that the researchers recovered the level and size rang of circles that I did. My circles can do “tricks”. They can fuse together. They can also form intricate geometric patterns.  I also discuss how apoptosis prevents such kinds of DNA from entering adjacent healthy cells, thereby, preventing corruption of the genetic machinery which could lead to cancer (see last sentence in the above summary).

So the obvious question to answer here is why these researchers cannot find circles in normal cells? Perhaps they need to ask somebody who could show them how.








About frankabernathy

I am a retired cell biologist and alumnus of Ohio State University. I became interested in chromosomes as far back as the 1960's when I wrote a term paper on the effects of radiomimetic drugs on chromosomes. I was fascinated at how they could break apart and reform new structures so easily. I became further involved in the early 1970's after taking a cytogenetics course at the University of Arkansas. I took that knowledge with me to Ohio State in 1980 where I eventually worked on my research and completed my Ph.D. dissertation, "Studies on Eukaryotic DNA Superstructure". My studies and later research suggested that the DNA within the eukaryotic chromosome is not the simple, linear molecular thread so widely suggested in all the classic textbooks published today. Instead, it may be the culmination of a geologically rapid set of endosymbiotic events where microorganisms plug into each other to create something greater than themselves. Feel free to contact me at
This entry was posted in cancer, cell cycle, cellular differentiation, endosymbionts, evolution, Fallacies in science, mitosis, Stem Cells, virus, What are they?. Bookmark the permalink.

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