Navigation Links
Landmark Study Prompts Rethink of Genetic Code

The most detailed probe yet into the workings of the human genome has led scientists to conclude that a cornerstone concept about the chemical code for life is badly flawed. The ground-breaking study, published in more than two dozen papers in journals on both sides of the Atlantic, takes a small percentage of the genome to pieces to draw up a "parts list," identifying the biological role of every component.

For the international team of investigators, the four-year project was the computer-equivalent of passing a fine-toothed comb through a mountain of raw data. Reporting in the British journal Nature and the US journal Genome Research on Thursday, they suggest that an established theory about the genome should be consigned to history. Under this view, the genome is rather like a ribbon studded with some 22,000 "nuggets" in the form of genes, which make proteins, the essential stuff of life.

Genes -- deemed so valuable that some discoverers of them have been prompted to file patents over them for commercial gain -- amount to only around a twentieth, or even less, of the genetic code. In between the genes and the sequences known to regulate their activity are long, tedious stretches that appear to do nothing.

The term for them is "junk" DNA, reflecting the presumption that they are merely driftwood from our evolutionary past and have no biological function. But the work by the ENCODE (ENCyclopaedia of DNA Elements) consortium implies that this nuggets-and-dross concept of DNA should be, well, junked.

The genome turns out to a highly complex, interwoven machine with very few inactive stretches, the researchers report. Genes, it transpires, are just one of many types of DNA sequences that have a functional role. And "junk" DNA turns out to have an essential role in regulating the protein-making business. Previously written off as silent, it emerges as a singer with its own discreet voice, part of a vast, interac ting molecular choir.

"The majority of the genome is copied, or transcribed, into RNA, which is the active molecule in our cells, relaying information from the archival DNA to the cellular machinery," said Tim Hubbard of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, a British research group that was part of the team. "This is a remarkable finding, since most prior research suggested only a fraction of the genome was transcribed."

Francis Collins, director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which coralled 35 scientific groups from around the world into the ENCODE project, said the scientific community "will need to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do." "(...) This could have significant implications for efforts to identify the DNA sequences involved in many human diseases," he said. Another rethink is in offing about how the genome has evolved, said Collins.

Until now, researchers had thought that the pressure to survive would relentlessly sculpt the human genome, leaving it with a slim, efficient core of genes that are essential for biological function. But the ENCODE consortium were surprised to find that the genome appears to be stuffed with functional elements that offer no identifiable benefits in terms of survival or reproduction.

The researchers speculate that there is a point behind this survival of the evolutionary cull. Humans could share with other animals a large pool of functional elements -- a "warehouse" stuffed with a variety of tools on which each species can draw, enabling it to adapt according to its environmental niche.

The ENCODE endeavour flows from the Human Genome Project, which concluded in April 2003 with the publication of a polished draft of the human genetic code. But having the draft is not the same as knowing what is in it or how it works. And this is essential for unlocking knowledge about our evolutionary odyssey, just as it is needed for engineering new treatments for inherited disease.

The collaborative study focussed on 44 strategically chosen targets which together account for about one percent of the genome, or about 30 million of the three billion "rungs" in the DNA double-helix ladder. The data is being placed in the public domain to help medical and other research.


'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Kolkata: Landmark Health City on the Cards
2. Heart Center at Sinai Conducts Landmark Study on Aspirin Resistance
3. Scientists Map Key Landmarks in Human Genome
4. Tomato Sauce reduces Cancer Risk- Study
5. Study on obesity and heart failure
6. National Lung Study in the process
7. Study casts doubt on keyboard ills
8. Study reveals how stress can make you sick
9. Study reveals how stress can make you sick
10. Study supports vegetable diet
11. Study to look at early surgery to treat epilepsy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... "Add realistic flares and light ... and flare from clip to clip with high quality 4K lens flare footage," said ... contains 44 lens flares filmed on the RED Dragon. Utilizing the Dragon Sensor, TransFlare ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... What: Shriners Hospitals for ... North Pole to our patients – using a video monitor and web-enabled camera. Santa ... will transform the Auditorium into a Christmas Wonderland, which is where the video connection ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... Edward ... to announce the arrival of the newest Sciton laser in January 2017. The ... use tunable non-ablative and ablative wavelengths for exceptional results. Outperforming more traditional lasers, ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... Ill. (PRWEB) , ... December 06, 2016 , ... For ... Lithuanian poetry , both thick and thin. The beauty of the Lithuanian ... by Trafford Publishing). , In this poetry book, Zubinas lyrically explores all aspects of ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , ... December 05, 2016 ... ... security executive networking and relationship-marketing firm, announced today that nominations will be ... Information Security Executive® (ISE®) Central Awards. , Awards include the Information Security ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... Pa. , Dec. 5, 2016  Pennsylvania Physician ... Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis today ... drug, at Minnich,s Pharmacy in York ... order signed by Dr. Levine as a prescription to ... "It,s important to remember that any Pennsylvanian ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... India , December 5, 2016 According ... by Treatment modalities (Chondrocyte Transplantation, Growth Factor Technology, Tissue Scaffolds, Cell-free ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is projected to reach USD 779.8 ... a CAGR of 13.5% during the forecast period of 2016 to ... ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... Sanovas, Inc., a life science asset holding company ... wholly owned subsidiary, Intubation Science, Inc., and its LightSpeed Intubation ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161202/445251LOGO   ... Sanovas, Inc. ... There are over 40 million Endotracheal Intubations performed annually ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: