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Mouse genome much more complex than expected

e mutated during the course of evolution so quickly that there would nowadays be hardly any similarity between them.

The scientists came across an additional interesting phenomenon when they tried to find the 'original sources' of the mRNA copies in the DNA encyclopedia: information and nonsense are apparently not distributed randomly. Instead there are entire chapters with many different protein blueprints, which are separated by long passages devoid of meaning ?Professor Zimmer talks of transcription 'forests' and 'deserts'.

Although the DNA encyclopedia only has a few tens of thousands of intelligible 'pages', the researchers counted more than 180,000 different mRNAs. 'The genetic information is arranged on the DNA in a very complex way,' Professor Zimmer concludes. For example, the 'copiers' in the cell nucleus combine the different 'paragraphs' in the DNA encyclopedia with each other in different ways. Thus there may be several different mRNA copies derived from the same page, which in turn serve as a blueprint for different proteins.

Only twice as many genes as a threadworm?

This observation might also explain the big question why mammals only have about twice as many genes as threadworms, which have a much simpler structure. 'Our study calls into question the classic view that one gene contains the information for exactly one protein,' Professor Zimmer explains. 'Mammals frequently use the selfsame place on the DNA several times over, as a partial blueprint, so to speak, for different proteins. It is becoming more and more evident that mammal genes do not have any clearly defined limits.'


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Source:University of Bonn


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