A new study from the Wang Lab at Washington University School of Medicine heavily implicates a genetic phenomenon known as “jumping genes” in the growth of tumors. The study, published March 29 in Nature Genetics, opens the door for new research for future cancer therapies that could target jumping genes, or mistakes in the letters of the DNA sequence. Jumping genes are also known as transposable elements.

“A lot of what transposable elements are doing in our genome is still a mystery. This study is the first detailed outline of their important roles in cancer. We hope this research provides new ways for scientists to approach the development of cancer therapeutics. Using knowledge of how genes are regulated, we hope to find ways to shut down these jumping genes that drive tumor growth,” Ting Wang, Ph.D.,┬áSanford C. and Karen P. Loewentheil Distinguished Professor of Medicine and leader of the study, said in a statement.