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Science 328 (5976): 314-315

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Molecular Biology

Dicer's Cut and Switch

Qinghua Liu, and Zain Paroo

Apoptosis is an essential developmental process in which a highly concerted series of biochemical events directs cell disassembly and death. Degradation of chromosomal DNA is a defining characteristic of apoptosis, involving distinct deoxyribonucleases that initiate DNA fragmentation (initiator DNases) and metabolize residual DNA (progressive DNases). On page 327 of this issue, Nakagawa et al. (1) report an unexpected role in apoptotic DNA degradation for an enzyme that was previously known for its role in RNA interference (RNAi).

Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.

E-mail: qinghua.liu{at}; zain.paroo{at}

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