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Since the discovery of the DNA double helix, there has been a fascination in understanding the molecular mechanisms and cellular processes that account for: (i) the transmission of genetic information from one generation to the next and (ii) the remarkable stability of the genome. Nucleic acid biologists have endeavored to unravel the mysteries of DNA not only to understand the processes of DNA replication, repair, recombination, and transcription but to also characterize the underlying basis of genetic diseases characterized by chromosomal instability. Perhaps unexpectedly at first, DNA helicases have arisen as a key class of enzymes to study in this latter capacity. From the first discovery of ATP-dependent DNA unwinding enzymes in the mid 1970's to the burgeoning of helicase-dependent pathways found to be prevalent in all kingdoms of life, the story of scientific discovery in helicase research is rich and informative. Over four decades after their discovery, we take this opportunity to provide a history of DNA helicases. No doubt, many chapters are left to be written. Nonetheless, at this juncture we are privileged to share our perspective on the DNA helicase field - where it has been, its current state, and where it is headed.


Robert M Brosh, Steven W Matson. History of DNA Helicases. Genes. 2020 Feb 27;11(3)

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PMID: 32120966

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