Genes that contribute to normal cell reproduction, growth and DNA repair are essential for healthy cell function in all organisms. The dog-1 gene plays a role in maintaining the stability of the genome of Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny worm frequently studied by researchers because it has many molecular characteristics that are central to human biology. However, little is known about how the dog-1 gene functions to maintain genome stability. Jillian Youds is studying how this gene functions in the cell to gain a better understanding of how it contributes to DNA sequence stability. Given that mutations in the genes required for stability are often underlying causes of disease, this research could provide further understanding of the development of cancer.