Friends genetically more similar than strangers

'We Become Friends With Genetically Similar People'

‘We Become Friends With Genetically Similar People’

Our friends seem to be genetically more similar to us than strangers, according to a new U.S. scientific study led by prominent Greek-American professor of sociology and medicine at Yale University Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California.

The researchers, who made the relevant publication in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analyzed the genome of 1,932 people and compared pairs of friends with pairs of strangers.

There was no biological affinity among all these people, but only the difference in the level of social relations between them.

The study showed that, on average, every person had a more similar DNA with his friends than with strangers. The researchers noted that this finding has to do with the tendency of people to make friends with similar racial (and hence genetic) background.

The genetic similarity between friends was greater than the expected similarity between people who share a common national and genetic inheritance. It is not clear yet by what mechanisms this occurs.

But how similar are we with our friends?

On average, according to the study, a friend of ours has a genetic affinity comparable to our fourth cousin, which means that we share about 1% of our genes our friends.

“1% does not sound a big deal, but it is for geneticists. It is noteworthy that most people do not even know who their fourth cousins ​​are, but somehow, from the countless possible cases, we choose to make friends with people who are genetically similar to us,” said Prof Christakis.

Christakis and Fowler even developed a “friendship score”, which predicts who will befriend whom with nearly the same accuracy as scientists predict, on the basis of genetic analysis, the chances of a person to obesity or schizophrenia.

Focusing on individual genes, the research shows that friends are more likely to have similar genes related to the sense of smell, but different genes that control immunity; thus friends vary genetically in their protection against various diseases.

It seems to be an evolutionary mechanism that serves the society in general, since the fact that people hang out with those who are vulnerable to different diseases constitutes a barrier to the quick spread of an epidemic from person to person. Another notable finding is that the common genes we share with our friends seem to evolve more rapidly than others.

Prof. Christakis explains that probably that is why human evolution seems to have accelerated over the past 30,000 years, as the social environment with an important role of linguistic communication is a vital evolutionary factor.

 

Source:  humansarefree.com

Woolly mammoths genome mapped

woolly mammoth genome

woolly mammoth genome

An international team of researchers has sequenced the nearly complete genome of two Siberian woolly mammoths — revealing the most complete picture to date — including new information about the species’ evolutionary history and the conditions that led to its mass extinction at the end of the Ice Age.

“This discovery means that recreating extinct species is a much more real possibility, one we could in theory realize within decades,” says evolutionary geneticist Hendrik Poinar, director of the Ancient DNA Centre at McMaster University and a researcher at the Institute for Infectious Disease Research, the senior Canadian scientist on the project.

“With a complete genome and this kind of data, we can now begin to understand what made a mammoth a mammoth — when compared to an elephant — and some of the underlying causes of their extinction which is an exceptionally difficult and complex puzzle to solve,” he says.

While scientists have long argued that climate change and human hunting were major factors behind the mammoth’s extinction, the new data suggests multiple factors were at play over their long evolutionary history.

Researchers from McMaster, Harvard Medical School, the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm University and others produced high-quality genomes from specimens taken from the remains of two male woolly mammoths, which lived about 40,000 years apart.

One had lived in northeastern Siberia and is estimated to be nearly 45,000 years old. The other -believed to be from one of the last surviving mammoth populations — lived approximately 4,300 years ago on Russia’s Wrangel Island, located in the Arctic Ocean.

“We found that the genome from one of the world’s last mammoths displayed low genetic variation and a signature consistent with inbreeding, likely due to the small number of mammoths that managed to survive on Wrangel Island during the last 5,000 years of the species’ existence,” says Love Dalén, an associate professor of Bioinformatics and Genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

Scientists used sophisticated technology to tease bits and pieces of highly fragmented DNA from the ancient specimens, which they then used to sequence the genomes. Through careful analysis, they determined the animal populations had suffered and recovered from a significant setback roughly 250,000 to 300,000 years ago. However, say researchers, another severe decline occurred in the final days of the Ice Age, marking the end.

“The dates on these current samples suggest that when Egyptians were building pyramids, there were still mammoths living on these islands,” says Poinar. “Having this quality of data can help with our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of elephants in general and possible efforts at de-extinction.”

The latest research is the continuation of the pioneering work Poinar and his team began in 2006, when they first mapped a partial mammoth genome, using DNA extracted from carcasses found in permafrost in the Yukon and Siberia.

 

Source:  Sciencedaily.com

Scientists discover key driver of reversing aging process

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, experts say.

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, experts say.

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, experts say. In the study, scientists at the Salk Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science found that the genetic mutations underlying Werner syndrome, a disorder that leads to premature aging and death, resulted in the deterioration of bundles of DNA known as heterochromatin.

The discovery, made possible through a combination of cutting-edge stem cell and gene-editing technologies, could lead to ways of countering age-related physiological declines by preventing or reversing damage to heterochromatin.

“Our findings show that the gene mutation that causes Werner syndrome results in the disorganization of heterochromatin, and that this disruption of normal DNA packaging is a key driver of aging,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a senior author on the paper. “This has implications beyond Werner syndrome, as it identifies a central mechanism of aging–heterochromatin disorganization–which has been shown to be reversible.”

Werner syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes people to age more rapidly than normal. It affects around one in every 200,000 people in the United States. People with the disorder suffer age-related diseases early in life, including cataracts, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries, osteoporosis and cancer, and most die in their late 40s or early 50s.

The disease is caused by a mutation to the Werner syndrome RecQ helicase-like gene, known as the WRN gene for short, which generates the WRN protein. Previous studies showed that the normal form of the protein is an enzyme that maintains the structure and integrity of a person’s DNA. When the protein is mutated in Werner syndrome it disrupts the replication and repair of DNA and the expression of genes, which was thought to cause premature aging. However, it was unclear exactly how the mutated WRN protein disrupted these critical cellular processes.

In their study, the Salk scientists sought to determine precisely how the mutated WRN protein causes so much cellular mayhem. To do this, they created a cellular model of Werner syndrome by using a cutting-edge gene-editing technology to delete WRN gene in human stem cells. This stem cell model of the disease gave the scientists the unprecedented ability to study rapidly aging cells in the laboratory. The resulting cells mimicked the genetic mutation seen in actual Werner syndrome patients, so the cells began to age more rapidly than normal. On closer examination, the scientists found that the deletion of the WRN gene also led to disruptions to the structure of heterochromatin, the tightly packed DNA found in a cell’s nucleus.

This bundling of DNA acts as a switchboard for controlling genes’ activity and directs a cell’s complex molecular machinery. On the outside of the heterochromatin bundles are chemical markers, known as epigenetic tags, which control the structure of the heterochromatin. For instance, alterations to these chemical switches can change the architecture of the heterochromatin, causing genes to be expressed or silenced.

The Salk researchers discovered that deletion of the WRN gene leads to heterochromatin disorganization, pointing to an important role for the WRN protein in maintaining heterochromatin. And, indeed, in further experiments, they showed that the protein interacts directly with molecular structures known to stabilize heterochromatin–revealing a kind of smoking gun that, for the first time, directly links mutated WRN protein to heterochromatin destabilization.

“Our study connects the dots between Werner syndrome and heterochromatin disorganization, outlining a molecular mechanism by which a genetic mutation leads to a general disruption of cellular processes by disrupting epigenetic regulation,” says Izpisua Belmonte. “More broadly, it suggests that accumulated alterations in the structure of heterochromatin may be a major underlying cause of cellular aging. This begs the question of whether we can reverse these alterations–like remodeling an old house or car–to prevent, or even reverse, age-related declines and diseases.”

Izpisua Belmonte added that more extensive studies will be needed to fully understand the role of heterochromatin disorganization in aging, including how it interacts with other cellular processes implicated in aging, such as shortening of the end of chromosomes, known as telomeres. In addition, the Izpisua Belmonte team is developing epigenetic editing technologies to reverse epigenetic alterations with a role in human aging and disease.

 

Source:  sciencedaily.com

Humans Played Role in Neanderthal Extinction

neanderthal-human-skulls

neanderthal-human-skulls

Ancient teeth from Italy suggest that the arrival of modern humans in Western Europe coincided with the demise of Neanderthals there, researchers said.

This finding suggests that modern humans may have caused Neanderthals to go extinct, either directly or indirectly, scientists added.

Neanderthals are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans. Recent findings suggest that Neanderthals, who once lived in Europe and Asia, were closely enough related to humans to interbreed with the ancestors of modern humans — about 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone outside Africa is Neanderthal in origin. Recent findings suggest that Neanderthals disappeared from Europe between about 41,000 and 39,000 years ago.

Scientists have hotly debated whether Neanderthals were driven into extinction because of modern humans. To solve this mystery, researchers have tried pinpointing when modern humans entered Western Europe. [Image Gallery: Our Closest Human Ancestor]

Modern human or Neanderthal?

The Protoaurignacians, who first appeared in southern Europe about 42,000 years ago, could shed light on the entrance of modern humans into the region. This culture was known for its miniature blades and for simple ornaments made of shells and bones.

Scientists had long viewed the Protoaurignacians as the precursors of the Aurignacians — modern humans named after the site of Aurignac in southern France who spread across Europe between about 35,000 and 45,000 years ago. Researchers had thought the Protoaurignacians reflected the westward spread of modern humans from the Near East — the part of Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and India that includes the Middle East.

However, the classification of the Protoaurignacians as modern human or Neanderthal has long been uncertain. Fossils recovered from Protoaurignacian sites were not conclusively identified as either.

Now scientists analyzing two 41,000-year-old teeth from two Protoaurignacian sites in Italy find that the fossils belonged to modern humans.

“We finally have proof for the argument that says that modern humans were there when the Neanderthals went extinct in Europe,” study lead author Stefano Benazzi, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Bologna in Ravenna, Italy.

A fossil tooth found at an Italian site called Grotta di Fumane (shown here) came from a modern human, scientists say.

The researchers investigated a lower incisor tooth from Riparo Bombrini, an excavation site in Italy, and found it had relatively thick enamel. Prior research suggested modern human teeth had thicker enamel than those of Neanderthals, perhaps because modern humans were healthier or developed more slowly. They also compared DNA from an upper incisor tooth found in another site in Italy — Grotta di Fumane — with that of 52 present-day modern humans, 10 ancient modern humans, a chimpanzee, 10 Neanderthals, two members of a recently discovered human lineage known as the Denisovans, and one member of an unknown kind of human lineage from Spain, and found that the Protoaurignacian DNA was modern human.

“This research really could not have been done without the collaboration of researchers in many different scientific research fields — paleoanthropologists, molecular anthropologists, physical anthropologists, paleontologists and physicists working on dating the fossils,” Benazzi said.

Killing off Neanderthals

Since the Protoaurignacians first appeared in Europe about 42,000 years ago and the Neanderthals disappeared from Europe between about 41,000 and 39,000 years ago, these new findings suggest that Protoaurignacians “caused, directly or indirectly, the demise of Neanderthals,” Benazzi said.

These 3D models show an incisor tooth from two Italian sites, Riparo Bombrini (left) and Grotta di Fumane (right).
Credit: Daniele Panetta, CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy

View full size image

It remains unclear just how modern humans might have driven Neanderthals into extinction, Benazzi cautioned. Modern humans might have competed with Neanderthals, or they might simply have assimilated Neanderthals into their populations.

Moreover, prior research suggests that Neanderthals in Europe might have been headed toward extinction before modern humans even arrived on the continent. Neanderthals apparently experienced a decline in genetic diversity about the time when modern humans began turning up in Europe.

“The only way we might have proof of how modern humans caused the decline of Neanderthals is if we ever find a modern human burying a knife into the head of a Neanderthal,” Benazzi joked.

The researchers now hope to find more Protoaurignacian human remains. “Hopefully, we can find DNA that may say something about whether these modern humans and Neanderthals interbred,” Benazzi said.

 

Source:   livescience.com

Virus That Preys on Other Viruses

Virus That Preys on Other Viruses

Virus That Preys on Other Viruses

Viruses infect a wide range of plants and animals, and shows that they can even infect one another. If that seems surprising, no wonder: until a team of French researchers watched one virus invade another, hijacking its genetic machinery and making copies of its victim’s DNA, scientists didn’t even know this was possible.

The French team dubbed the virus’s virus Sputnik and called it a “virophage” to parallel “bacteriophage,” which is the name for a virus that infects bacteria. Sputnik is tiny, with only 18,000 genetic bases in its chromosome. Its victim, by contrast, is a large mamavirus that the scientists found in a Paris cooling tower, and contains about 1.2 million genetic bases. An infection by Sputnik sickens the mamavirus by interfering with its replication.

The discovery that even viruses can fall ill has reignited an old controversy—whether viruses are are actually alive or simply rogue bits of DNA that depend upon other organisms to reproduce. “There’s no doubt this is a living organism,” says Jean-Michel Claverie, a virologist at the the CNRS UPR laboratories in Marseilles, part of France’s basic-research agency. “The fact that it can get sick makes it more alive”.

And now that they know viruses can infect other viruses, the researchers say it could be possible to use virophages against the most harmful viruses, although they’re cautious about the idea. “It’s too early to say we could use Sputnik as a weapon against big viruses or to modify them,” says co-author Bernard La Scola, also at the University of the Mediterranean. “But phages are used to modify bacteria, so why not?”.

Source:  discovermagazine.com

The first Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

Monsanto Creates First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

Monsanto Creates First Genetically Modified Strain of Marijuana

The news that has been welcomed by scientists and leaders of the agriculture business alike as a move forward towards the industrial use of marijuana and hemp products could bring a major shift towards marijuana policies in the U.S.A. and ultimately, to the world.

Under present US federal law, it is illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana, since the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, although it has been decriminalized to some extent in certain states, Monsanto’s interest in the field has been interpreted by experts as the precursor to “a major shift in marijuana policy in the US” as it is believed the company would not have invested so much time and energy if it had not had “previous knowledge” of the Federal government’s “openness” towards the future legalization of marijuana.

Lawyer and marijuana law specialist, Edmund Groensch, of the Drug Policy Alliance, admits Monsanto’s involvement in marijuana projects could definitely help the pro-legalization activists.

“Currently, Federal law criminalizes marijuana and hemp derivatives because public opinion is still against it and legal commercial production in the U.S. is currently handled by a patchwork of small farmers whom are not trusted by investors. A major player as Monsanto could bring confidence within government and towards investors in the market if it were to own a large part of the exploitable lands and commercial products”.

“There is presently no way to control the production of marijuana and the quality of the strains. A GM strain produced by a company with the credentials and prestige of Monsanto would definitely lend a massive hand to pro-legalization activists within certain spheres of government and within the business world” he explains.

Although Monsanto’s testing on cannabis is only at an experimental stage, no plan has yet been released by the agriculture business firm as to what purposes the patented strain would be used for, although specialists believe answers should come this fall as rumors of a controversial new bill which could “loosen up laws around medical marijuana” is reportedly scheduled to pass before congress coming this fall.

Critics fear genetically modified cannabis will mix with other strains and could destroy the diversity of DNA, a reality dismissed by most studies claim experts.

 

Source:  worldnewsdailyreport.com

FRANCIS CRICK high on LSD discovering structure of DNA

FRANCIS CRICK

FRANCIS CRICK

FRANCIS CRICK, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced thedouble-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.

The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life.

Crick, who died ten days ago, aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle’s warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize.

Despite his Establishment image, Crick was a devotee of novelist Aldous Huxley, whose accounts of his experiments with LSD and another hallucinogen, mescaline, in the short stories The Doors Of Perception and Heaven And Hell became cult texts for the hippies of the Sixties and Seventies. In the late Sixties, Crick was a founder member of Soma, a legalise-cannabis group named after the drug in Huxley’s novel Brave New World. He even put his name to a famous letter to The Times in 1967 calling for a reform in the drugs laws.

It was through his membership of Soma that Crick inadvertently became the inspiration for the biggest LSD manufacturing conspiracy-the world has ever seen the multimillion-pound drug factory in a remote farmhouse in Wales that was smashed by the Operation Julie raids of the late Seventies.

Crick’s involvement with the gang was fleeting but crucial. The revered scientist had been invited to the Cambridge home of freewheeling American writer David Solomon a friend of hippie LSD guru Timothy Leary who had come to Britain in 1967 on a quest to discover a method for manufacturing pure THC, the active ingredient of cannabis.

It was Crick’s presence in Solomon’s social circle that attracted a brilliant young biochemist, Richard Kemp, who soon became a convert to the attractions of both cannabis and LSD. Kemp was recruited to the THC project in 1968, but soon afterwards devised the world’s first foolproof method of producing cheap, pure LSD. Solomon and Kemp went into business, manufacturing acid in a succession of rented houses before setting up their laboratory in a cottage on a hillside near Tregaron, Carmarthenshire, in 1973. It is estimated that Kemp manufactured drugs worth Pounds 2.5 million an astonishing amount in the Seventies before police stormed the building in 1977 and seized enough pure LSD and its constituent chemicals to make two million LSD ‘tabs’.

The arrest and conviction of Solomon, Kemp and a string of co-conspirators dominated the headlines for months. I was covering the case as a reporter at the time and it was then that I met Kemp’s close friend, Garrod Harker, whose home had been raided by police but who had not been arrested. Harker told me that Kemp and his girlfriend Christine Bott by then in jail were hippie idealists who were completely uninterested in the money they were making.

They gave away thousands to pet causes such as the Glastonbury pop festival and the drugs charity Release.

‘They have a philosophy,’ Harker told me at the time. ‘They believe industrial society will collapse when the oil runs out and that the answer is to change people’s mindsets using acid. They believe LSD can help people to see that a return to a natural society based on self-sufficiency is the only way to save themselves.

‘Dick Kemp told me he met Francis Crick at Cambridge. Crick had told him that some Cambridge academics used LSD in tiny amounts as a thinking tool, to liberate them from preconceptions and let their genius wander freely to new ideas. Crick told him he had perceived the double-helix shape while on LSD.

‘It was clear that Dick Kemp was highly impressed and probably bowled over by what Crick had told him. He told me that if a man like Crick, who had gone to the heart of human existence, had used LSD, then it was worth using. Crick was certainly Dick Kemp’s inspiration.’ Shortly afterwards I visited Crick at his home, Golden Helix, in Cambridge.

He listened with rapt, amused attention to what I told him about the role of LSD in his Nobel Prize-winning discovery. He gave no intimation of surprise. When I had finished, he said: ‘Print a word of it and I’ll sue.’

 

Source:  miqel.com

Scientists create organism with ‘Alien’ DNA

organism with 'alien' DNA

organism with ‘alien’ DNA

Scientists have created the first “semi-synthetic” micro-organism with a radically different genetic code from the rest of life on Earth.

The researchers believe the breakthrough is the first step towards creating new microbial life-forms with novel industrial or medical properties resulting from a potentially massive expansion of genetic information.

The semi-synthetic microbe, a genetically modified E. coli bacterium, has been endowed with an extra artificial piece of DNA with an expanded genetic alphabet – instead of the usual four “letters” of the alphabet its DNA molecule has six.

The natural genetic code of all living things is based on a sequence of four bases – G, C, T, A – which form two sets of bonded pairs, G to C and T to A, that link the two strands of the DNA double helix.

The DNA of the new semi-synthetic microbe, however, has a pair of extra base pairs, denoted by X and Y, which pair up together like the other base pairs and are fully integrated into the rest of the DNA’s genetic code.

The scientists said that the semi-synthetic E. coli bacterium replicates normally and is able to pass on the new genetic information to subsequent generations. However, it was not able to use the new encoded information to produce any novel proteins – the synthetic DNA was added as an extra circular strand that did not take part in the bacterium’s normal metabolic functions.

The study, published in the journal Nature, is the first time that scientists have managed to produce a genetically modified microbe that is able to function and replicate with a different genetic code to the one that is thought to have existed ever since life first started to evolve on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.

“Life on earth in all its diversity is encoded by only two pairs of DNA bases, A-T and C-G, and what we’ve made is an organism that stably contains those two plus a third, unnatural pair of bases,” said Professor Floyd Romesberg of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

“This shows that other solutions to storing information are possible and, of course, takes us closer to an expanded-DNA biology that will have many exciting applications, from new medicines to new kinds of nanotechnology,” Professor Romesberg said.

Expanding the genetic code with an extra base pair raises the prospect of building new kinds of proteins from a much wider range of amino acids than the 20 or so that exist in nature. A new code based on six base pairs could in theory deal with more than 200 amino acids, the scientists said.

“In principle, we could encode new proteins made from new, unnatural amino acids, which would give us greater power than ever to tailor protein therapeutics and diagnostics and laboratory reagents to have desired functions,” Professor Romesberg said.

“Other applications, such as nanomaterials, are also possible,” he added.

The researchers emphasised that there is little danger of the new life-forms living outside the confines of the laboratory, as they are not able to replicate with their synthetic DNA strand unless they are continuously fed the X and Y bases – synthetic chemicals called “d5SICS” and “dNaM”, that do not exist in nature.

The bacteria also need a special protein to transport the new bases around the cell of the microbe. The transporter protein comes from algae and if it, or the X and Y bases, are lacking, the microbial cells revert back to the natural genetic code, said Denis Malyshev of the Scripps Institute.

“Our new bases can only get into the cell if we turn on the “base transporter” protein. Without this transporter or when the new bases are not provided, the cell will revert back to A, T, G, C and the d5SICS and the dNaM will disappear from the genome,” Dr Malyshev said.

 

Source:  independent.co.uk

Scientists Create Organism From Artificial DNA

Scientists Create 1st Living Organism From Artificial DNA:

Scientists Create 1st Living Organism From Artificial DNA

Scientists Create 1st Living Organism From Artificial DNA

 

A team of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, Calif., has created a brand-new bacteria based on a genetic structure found nowhere on Earth.

According to lead researcher Floyd Romesberg, the feat involved artificially engineering a unique combination of DNA material — a combination not found in any living creature — and then successfully inserting it into a living cell that usually contains only natural combinations of DNA.

“Life on Earth in all its diversity is encoded by only two pairs of DNA bases, A-T and C-G,” Romesberg explained in an institute news release. “And what we’ve made is an organism that stably contains those two plus a third, unnatural pair of bases.”

“This shows that other solutions to storing [genetic] information are possible,” he added, “and, of course, takes us closer to an expanded-DNA biology that will have many exciting applications — from new medicines to new kinds of nanotechnology.”

Romesberg and his colleagues discuss their handiwork — funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health — in the May 7 online edition of Nature.

The product of more than 15 years of work, the current effort builds on a proof-of-concept study conducted in 2008. At that time, investigators had shown that hooking up natural and unnatural pairings of DNA was possible in a test-tube setting.

The next challenge was to replicate the process inside a living cell. The cell chosen by the TSRI team was the common E. coli bacterium, and into it they inserted what they considered to be the best unnatural DNA pairing they could construct: a combination of two molecules called “d5SICS” and “dNaM”.

After leaping through a series of highly complex technical problems, the study authors finally managed to pull off their goal: the fashioning on a half-synthetic organism that could actually replicate its unnatural self as long as scientists continuously supplied it with the necessary molecular material.

Romesberg said that, in principle, his team’s high-concept work has a very practical purpose: to gain a “greater power than ever” to fashion new treatments by harnessing the power of genetics.

 

Source: health.usnews.com

DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

Scientist Proves DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies:

 Scientist Proves DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies:

Scientist Proves DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies:Type 2 diabetes: New associations identified between genes and metabolic markers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HUMAN DNA IS A BIOLOGICAL INTERNET and superior in many aspects to the artificial one. Russian scientific research directly or indirectly explains phenomena such as clairvoyance, intuition, spontaneous and remote acts of healing, self healing, affirmation techniques, unusual light/auras around people (namely spiritual masters), mind’s influence on weather patterns and much more. In addition, there is evidence for a whole new type of medicine in which DNA can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies WITHOUT cutting out and replacing single genes.

Only 10% of our DNA is being used for building proteins. It is this subset of DNA that is of interest to western researchers and is being examined and categorized. The other 90% are considered “junk DNA.” The Russian researchers, however, convinced that nature was not dumb, joined linguists and geneticists in a venture to explore those 90% of “junk DNA.” Their results, findings and conclusions are simply revolutionary! According to them, our DNA is not only responsible for the construction of our body but also serves as data storage and in communication. The Russian linguists found that the genetic code, especially in the apparently useless 90%, follows the same rules as all our human languages. To this end they compared the rules of syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases and sentences), semantics (the study of meaning in language forms) and the basic rules of grammar. They found that the alkalines of our DNA follow a regular grammar and do have set rules just like our languages. So human languages did not appear coincidentally but are a reflection of our inherent DNA.

The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues also explored the vibrational behavior of the DNA. [For the sake of brevity I will give only a summary here. For further exploration please refer to the appendix at the end of this article.] The bottom line was: “Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means that they managed for example to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself. Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and of language (as explained earlier) are of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary.

One can simply use words and sentences of the human language! This, too, was experimentally proven! Living DNA substance (in living tissue, not in vitro) will always react to language-modulated laser rays and even to radio waves, if the proper frequencies are being used.

This way the entire information was transmitted without any of the side effects or disharmonies encountered when cutting out and re-introducing single genes from the DNA. This represents an unbelievable, world-transforming revolution and sensation!

This finally and scientifically explains why affirmations, autogenous training, hypnosis and the like can have such strong effects on humans and their bodies. It is entirely normal and natural for our DNA to react to language. While western researchers cut single genes from the DNA strands and insert them elsewhere, the Russians enthusiastically worked on devices that can influence the cellular metabolism through suitable modulated radio and light frequencies and thus repair genetic defects.

Garjajev’s research group succeeded in proving that with this method chromosomes damaged by x-rays for example can be repaired. They even captured information patterns of a particular DNA and transmitted it onto another, thus reprogramming cells to another genome. So they successfully transformed, for example, frog embryos to salamander embryos simply by transmitting the DNA information patterns! This way the entire information was transmitted without any of the side effects or disharmonies encountered when cutting out and re-introducing single genes from the DNA. This represents an unbelievable, world-transforming revolution and sensation! All this by simply applying vibration and language instead of the archaic cutting-out procedure! This experiment points to the immense power of wave genetics, which obviously has a greater influence on the formation of organisms than the biochemical processes of alkaline sequences.

Esoteric and spiritual teachers have known for ages that our body is programmable by language, words and thought. This has now been scientifically proven and explained. Of course the frequency has to be correct. And this is why not everybody is equally successful or can do it with always the same strength. The individual person must work on the inner processes and maturity in order to establish a conscious communication with the DNA. The Russian researchers work on a method that is not dependent on these factors but will ALWAYS work, provided one uses the correct frequency.

But the higher developed an individual’s consciousness is, the less need is there for any type of device! One can achieve these results by oneself, and science will finally stop to laugh at such ideas and will confirm and explain the results. And it doesn’t end there. The Russian scientists also found out that our DNA can cause disturbing patterns in the vacuum, thus producing magnetized wormholes! Wormholes are the microscopic equivalents of the so-called Einstein-Rosen bridges in the vicinity of black holes (left by burned-out stars). These are tunnel connections between entirely different areas in the universe through which information can be transmitted outside of space and time. The DNA attracts these bits of information and passes them on to our consciousness. This process of hyper communication is most effective in a state of relaxation. Stress, worries or a hyperactive intellect prevent successful hyper communication or the information will be totally distorted and useless.
Under certain conditions stable wormholes can organize themselves which then form distinctive vacuum domains in which for example gravity can transform into electricity…

…When hyper communication occurs, one can observe in the DNA as well as in the human being special phenomena. The Russian scientists irradiated DNA samples with laser light. On screen a typical wave pattern was formed. When they removed the DNA sample, the wave pattern did not disappear, it remained. Many control experiments showed that the pattern still came from the removed sample, whose energy field apparently remained by itself. This effect is now called phantom DNA effect. It is surmised that energy from outside of space and time still flows through the activated wormholes after the DNA was removed. The side effect encountered most often in hyper communication also in human beings are inexplicable electromagnetic fields in the vicinity of the persons concerned….

Hyper communication in the new millennium means something quite different: Researchers think that if humans with full individuality would regain group consciousness, they would have a god-like power to create, alter and shape things on Earth! AND humanity is collectively moving toward such a group consciousness of the new kind.

…To come back to the DNA: It apparently is also an organic superconductor that can work at normal body temperature. Artificial superconductors require extremely low temperatures of between 200 and 140°C to function. As one recently learned, all superconductors are able to store light and thus information. This is a further explanation of how the DNA can store information. There is another phenomenon linked to DNA and wormholes. Normally, these supersmall wormholes are highly unstable and are maintained only for the tiniest fractions of a second. Under certain conditions stable wormholes can organize themselves which then form distinctive vacuum domains in which for example gravity can transform into electricity….

Hominin DNA suggests link to mystery population

A dig at the Sima de los Huesos cave in Spain, the site of ancient hominin fossils.

Hominin DNA baffles experts  Analysis of oldest sequence from a human ancestor suggests link to mystery population.

Hominin DNA baffles experts
Analysis of oldest sequence from a human ancestor suggests link to mystery population.

 

Another ancient genome, another mystery. DNA gleaned from a 400,000-year-old femur from Spain has revealed an unexpected link between Europe’s hominin inhabitants of the time and a cryptic population, the Denisovans, who are known to have lived much more recently in southwestern Siberia.

The DNA, which represents the oldest hominin sequence yet published, has left researchers baffled because most of them believed that the bones would be more closely linked to Neanderthals than to Denisovans. “That’s not what I would have expected; that’s not what anyone would have expected,” says Chris Stringer, a palaeoanthropologist at London’s Natural History Museum who was not involved in sequencing the femur DNA.

The fossil was excavated in the 1990s from a deep cave in a well-studied site in northern Spain called Sima de los Huesos (‘pit of bones’). This femur and the remains of more than two dozen other hominins found at the site have previously been attributed either to early forms of Neanderthals, who lived in Europe until about 30,000 years ago, or to Homo heidelbergensis, a loosely defined hominin population that gave rise to Neanderthals in Europe and possibly humans in Africa.

But a closer link to Neanderthals than to Denisovans was not what was discovered by the team led by Svante Pääbo, a molecular geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

The team sequenced most of the femur’s mitochondrial genome, which is made up of DNA from the cell’s energy-producing structures and passed down the maternal line. The resulting phylogenetic analysis ­— which shows branches in evolutionary history — placed the DNA closer to that of Denisovans than to Neanderthals or modern humans. “This really raises more questions than it answers,” Pääbo says.

The team’s finding, published online in Nature this week, does not necessarily mean that the Sima de los Huesos hominins are more closely related to the Denisovans, a population that lived thousands of kilometres away and hundreds of thousands of years later, than to nearby Neanderthals. This is because the mitochondrial genome tells the history of just an individual’s mother, and her mother, and so on.

 

Nuclear DNA, by contrast, contains material from both parents (and all of their ancestors) and typically provides a more accurate overview of a population’s history. But this was not available from the femur.

With that caveat in mind, researchers interested in human evolution are scrambling to explain the surprising link, and everyone seems to have their own ideas.

Pääbo notes that previously published full nuclear genomes of Neanderthals and Denisovans suggest that the two had a common ancestor that lived up to 700,000 years ago. He suggests that the Sima de los Huesos hominins could represent a founder population that once lived all over Eurasia and gave rise to the two groups. Both may have then carried the mitochondrial sequence seen in the caves. But these mitochondrial lineages go extinct whenever a female does not give birth to a daughter, so the Neanderthals could have simply lost that sequence while it lived on in Denisovan women.

“I’ve got my own twist on it,” says Stringer, who has previously argued that the Sima de los Huesos hominins are indeed early Neanderthals. He thinks that the newly decoded mitochondrial genome may have come from another distinct group of hominins. Not far from the caves, researchers have discovered hominin bones from about 800,000 years ago that have been attributed to an archaic hominin called Homo antecessor, thought to be a European descendant of Homo erectus. Stringer proposes that this species interbred with a population that was ancestral to both Denisovans and Sima de los Huesos hominins, introducing the newly decoded mitochondrial lineage to both populations .

This scenario, Stringer says, explains another oddity thrown up by the sequencing of ancient hominin DNA. As part of a widely discussed and soon-to-be-released analysis of high-quality Denisovan and Neanderthal nuclear genomes, Pääbo’s team suggests that Denisovans seem to have interbred with a mysterious hominin group.

The situation will become clearer if Pääbo’s team can eke nuclear DNA out of the bones from the Sima de los Huesos hominins, which his team hopes to achieve within a year or so.

Obtaining such sequences will not be simple, because nuclear DNA is present in bone at much lower levels than mitochondrial DNA. And even obtaining the partial mitochondrial genome was not easy: the team had to grind up almost two grams of bone and relied on various technical and computational methods to sequence the contaminated and damaged DNA and to arrange it into a genome. To make sure that they had identified genuine ancient sequences, they analysed only very short DNA strands that contained chemical modifications characteristic of ancient DNA.

Clive Finlayson, an archaeologist at the Gibraltar Museum, calls the latest paper “sobering and refreshing”, and says that too many ideas about human evolution have been derived from limited samples and preconceived ideas. “The genetics, to me, don’t lie,” he adds.

Even Pääbo admits that he was befuddled by his team’s latest discovery. “My hope is, of course, eventually we will not bring turmoil but clarity to this world,” he says.

Mutations Triggered Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago:

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

A research team led by a University of Chicago scientist has discovered two key mutations that sparked a hormonal revolution 500 million years ago.

In a feat of “molecular time travel,” the researchers resurrected and analyzed the functions of the ancestors of genes that play key roles in modern human reproduction, development, immunity and cancer. By re-creating the same DNA changes that occurred during those genes’ ancient history, the team showed that two mutations set the stage for hormones like estrogen, testosterone and cortisol to take on their crucial present-day roles.

“Changes in just two letters of the genetic code in our deep evolutionary past caused a massive shift in the function of one protein and set in motion the evolution of our present-day hormonal and reproductive systems,” said Joe Thornton, PhD, professor of human genetics and ecology & evolution at the University of Chicago, who led the study.

“If those two mutations had not happened, our bodies today would have to use different mechanisms to regulate pregnancy, libido, the response to stress, kidney function, inflammation, and the development of male and female characteristics at puberty,” Thornton said.

Understanding how the genetic code of a protein determines its functions would allow biochemists to better design drugs and predict the effects of mutations on disease. Thornton said the discovery shows how evolutionary analysis of proteins’ histories can advance this goal, Before the group’s work, it was not previously known how the various steroid receptors in modern species distinguish estrogens from other hormones.

The team, which included researchers from the University of Oregon, Emory University and the Scripps Research Institute, studied the evolution of a family of proteins called steroid hormone receptors, which mediate the effects of hormones on reproduction, development and physiology. Without receptor proteins, these hormones cannot affect the body’s cells.

Thornton’s group traced how the ancestor of the entire receptor family — which recognized only estrogens — evolved into descendant proteins capable of recognizing other steroid hormones, such as testosterone, progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol.

To do so, the group used a gene “resurrection” strategy. They first inferred the genetic sequences of ancient receptor proteins, using computational methods to work their way back up the tree of life from a database of hundreds of present-day receptor sequences. They then biochemically synthesized these ancient DNA sequences and used molecular assays to determine the receptors’ sensitivity to various hormones.

Thornton’s team narrowed down the time range during which the capacity to recognize non-estrogen steroids evolved, to a period about 500 million years ago, before the dawn of vertebrate animals on Earth. They then identified the most important mutations that occurred during that interval by introducing them into the reconstructed ancestral proteins. By measuring how the mutations affected the receptor’s structure and function, the team could re-create ancient molecular evolution in the laboratory.

They found that just two changes in the ancient receptor’s gene sequence caused a 70,000-fold shift in preference away from estrogens toward other steroid hormones. The researchers also used biophysical techniques to identify the precise atomic-level mechanisms by which the mutations affected the protein’s functions. Although only a few atoms in the protein were changed, this radically rewired the network of interactions between the receptor and the hormone, leading to a massive change in function.

“Our findings show that new molecular functions can evolve by sudden large leaps due to a few tiny changes in the genetic code,” Thornton said. He pointed out that, along with the two key changes in the receptor, additional mutations, the precise effects of which are not yet known, were necessary for the full effects of hormone signaling on the body to evolve.

DNA finally photographed

 

DNA directly photographed for the first time:

DNA directly photographed for the first time

DNA directly photographed for the first time

Fifty-nine years after James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the double-helix structure of DNA, a scientist has captured the first direct photograph of the twisted ladder that props up life. Enzo Di Fabrizio, a physics professor at Magna Graecia University in Catanzaro, Italy, snapped the picture using an electron microscope. Previously, scientists had only seen DNA’s structure indirectly. The double-corkscrew form was first discovered using a technique called X-ray crystallography, in which a material’s shape is reconstructed based on how X-rays bounce after they collide with it.


A bundle of DNA is supported by two silicon pillars.

DNA’s double-helix structure is on display for the first time in this electron microscope photograph of a small bundle of DNA strands.

But Di Fabrizio and his colleagues developed a plan to bring DNA out of hiding. They built a nanoscopic landscape of extremely water-repellant silicon pillars. When they added a solution that contained strands of DNA into this scene, the water quickly evaporated and left behind cords of bare DNA that stretched like tightropes between the tiny mesas. They then shone beams of electrons through holes in the silicon bed, and captured high-resolution images of the illuminated molecules. Di Fabrizio’s images actually show a thread of several interwoven DNA molecules, as opposed to just two coupled strands. This is because the energy of the electrons used would be enough to destroy an isolated double helix, or a single strand from a double helix. But with the use of more sensitive equipment and lower energy electrons, Di Fabrizio thinks that snapshots of individual double helices will soon be possible, New Scientist reports. Molecules of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, store the genetic instructions that govern all living organisms’ growth and function. Di Fabrizio’s innovation will allow scientists to vividly observe interactions between DNA and some of life’s other essential ingredients, such as RNA (r ibonucleic acid ). The results of Di Fabrizio’s work were published in the journal NanoLetters.

DNA Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

green superfood powder Scientist Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

Scientist Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

 

THE HUMAN DNA IS A BIOLOGICAL INTERNET and superior in many aspects to the artificial one. Russian scientific research directly or indirectly explains phenomena such as clairvoyance, intuition, spontaneous and remote acts of healing, self healing, affirmation techniques, unusual light/auras around people (namely spiritual masters), mind’s influence on weather patterns and much more. In addition, there is evidence for a whole new type of medicine in which DNA can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies WITHOUT cutting out and replacing single genes. Only 10% of our DNA is being used for building proteins. It is this subset of DNA that is of interest to western researchers and is being examined and categorized. The other 90% are considered “junk DNA.” The Russian researchers, however, convinced that nature was not dumb, joined linguists and geneticists in a venture to explore those 90% of “junk DNA.” Their results, findings and conclusions are simply revolutionary! According to them, our DNA is not only responsible for the construction of our body but also serves as data storage and in communication. The Russian linguists found that the genetic code, especially in the apparently useless 90%, follows the same rules as all our human languages. To this end they compared the rules of syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases and sentences), semantics (the study of meaning in language forms) and the basic rules of grammar. They found that the alkalines of our DNA follow a regular grammar and do have set rules just like our languages. So human languages did not appear coincidentally but are a reflection of our inherent DNA. The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues also explored the vibrational behavior of the DNA. [For the sake of brevity I will give only a summary here. For further exploration please refer to the appendix at the end of this article.] The bottom line was: “Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means that they managed for example to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself. Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and of language (as explained earlier) are of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary. One can simply use words and sentences of the human language! This, too, was experimentally proven! Living DNA substance (in living tissue, not in vitro) will always react to language-modulated laser rays and even to radio waves, if the proper frequencies are being used. This finally and scientifically explains why affirmations, autogenous training, hypnosis and the like can have such strong effects on humans and their bodies. It is entirely normal and natural for our DNA to react to language. While western researchers cut single genes from the DNA strands and insert them elsewhere, the Russians enthusiastically worked on devices that can influence the cellular metabolism through suitable modulated radio and light frequencies and thus repair genetic defects.

Monsanto’s Roundup is causing DNA Damage

Monsanto’s Roundup Ultra Max, is causing both DNA and cellular damage to cells found in the mouth and throat:

Monsanto’s Roundup Ultra Max, is causing both DNA and cellular damage to cells found in the mouth and throat

Monsanto’s Roundup Ultra Max, is causing both DNA and cellular damage to cells found in the mouth and throat

There is a reason that masks are worn while applying herbicides and warning signs are erected upon recently sprayed land plots — herbicide exposure is known to cause serious health complications. New research has recently been released showing that glyphosate, the main active ingredient found in Monsanto’s Roundup Ultra Max, is causing both DNA and cellular damage to cells found in the mouth and throat. Seeing as the inhalation of herbicides and ingredients like glyphosate is very common, this research alone is enough to raise concern over the safety of such substances which are used on a major scale. The Institute of Science in Society reports:

…Monsanto’s formulated version of glyphosate called Roundup Ultra Max caused cellular damage and DNA damage including chromosomal abnormalities and ultimately killed the cells at higher concentrations. Importantly, DNA damage occurred at concentrations below those required to induce cell damage, suggesting that the DNA damage was caused directly by glyphosate instead of being an indirect result of cell toxicity.

The research comes shortly after Monsanto’s all-to-popular Roundup has been shown to be killing off human kidney cells – even at low doses. Scientists demonstrated in the research that Monsanto’s ‘biopesticide’ Bt, in addition to Roundup, cause direct toxicity to human cells. They found that at only 100 parts per million (ppm), the biopesticide led to cell death, while it only took 57.2ppm of Roundup to kill half of the cell population in their research. Turns out that the amount of Roundup shown to cause this damage is 200 times below agricultural use. Although harm caused by glyphosate and Roundup is thought to be experienced only by those spraying the herbicide, Roundup may actually causing harm to millions of people. Roundup is not only sprayed on the food we eat, but it is also used by countless households as a consumer herbicide product. Roundup is so prevalent that it has been found in 41 percent of the 140 groundwater samples tested from Catalonia Spain. Even more concerning, a recent German study found glyphosate in all urine samples tested in concentrations at 5 to 20-fold the limit established for drinking water. Despite the evidence stacking up against Monsanto, they continue to push their health-damaging products on the public through personal and commercial use.

80 percent of JUNK DNA code controls Health

DNA ‘Junk’ Now Seen as Complex Switches Controlling Health:

DNA ‘Junk’ Now Seen as Complex Switches Controlling Health

DNA ‘Junk’ Now Seen as Complex Switches Controlling Health

Almost a decade after the U.S. human genome project was completed, scientists say they have mapped the underlying regulatory system that switches DNA on and off, potentially spurring a wave of new research into the molecular basis of complex diseases such as Type 1 diabetes. Many parts of DNA previously termed “junk” by scientists are, instead, levers that control the genetic activity that can lead alternately to health or illness, according to reports published simultaneously today in the journals Science and Nature by the Encode international consortium. Scientists previously thought that only genes, small pieces of DNA that comprise about 1 percent of the genome, have a function. The new findings show that an underlying circuitry exists in which 80 percent of the DNA code within each human cell can contribute to disease. This may be why large studies targeting gene variants haven’t identified treatable causes for many complex maladies, the scientists said. The circuitry can be disrupted at several individual waypoints. “This takes us from a concentration on individual genes to the whole genome,” said Eric Topol, professor of translational genomics at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, in a telephone interview. “This series of articles is amazing, it’s a blitz of information.” The science consortium identified about 4 million genetic switches, though the researchers expect the number will rise as more discoveries are made, said Ewan Birney, the associate director of the Cambridge-based EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute in the U.K. The circuitry identified by the group regulates about 20,000 genes, he said in a conference call. Encode, short for The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, was started in September 2003, just five months after the U.S. Human Genome Project was declared over. Its broad goal was to identify all elements in the genome that had a function. The $288 million project, funded by a unit of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, eventually gathered 443 scientists from more than 30 institutions worldwide into the consortium that made today’s announcements. More than 1,600 experiments on 147 types of tissue were performed. “It was an extraordinary group response right from the start,” said Tim Hubbard, who leads the Cambridge-based Vertebrate Genome Analysis Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K. “We had a map, but we needed insight into the function of each part of the genome. ‘‘I can’t say there was one person who drove it,’’ he said. ‘‘I think the model provided by the Human Genome Project and the role of the Internet intersected at a certain point to bring many voices together to say this is what we need to do next. It was unusual then, but becoming less so now.’’ Six of the studies published today appeared in Nature and two in the journal Science. Several more appeared in Genome Research and Genome Biology, showing the extraordinary range of the material being presented. The Encode results demonstrate the importance of DNA feedback mechanisms that the genome uses to control itself, said John Stamatoyannopoulos, a study author and associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. While the vast majority of human DNA doesn’t make cellular proteins, today’s results suggest they may create the RNA molecules that help regulate when a gene turns off and on, and creates specific types of proteins. Additionally, the non-coding DNA also may boost or muffle a gene’s expression. ‘‘It’s like a brain in every cell,” Stamatoyannopoulos said in a telephone interview. Scientists studying individual genes and proteins will be able to use the Encode data to gain more insight into regulatory mechanisms in their individual areas of research, said Stephen Elledge, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The data will help researchers better understand how regulatory changes underlying genetic activity might affect people’s risk or severity of disease, he said. Genome-wide association studies are done by scanning the genome for many people to find variations linked to disease. About 93 percent of the variants found in this research hasn’t involved genes that code for proteins, and few explain the bulk of most complex diseases, Stamatoyannopoulos said. His study, published in Science, found that 76 percent of these disease-associated variants existed within or near regulatory DNA, suggesting a more complex cause may exist. His group also determined many complex disease share some genomic switches, including autoimmune diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes and lupus. “We knew that hidden out there were instructions for turning things off and on and understanding that process was necessary for understanding disease,” Stamatoyannopoulos said. In a paper in Nature, Job Dekker, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts, and his team demonstrated using three-dimensional models that many regulatory regions work by directly touching genes when folded. The Human Genome Project was a 13-year research effort to identify the approximately 20,000 genes in human DNA, and determine which sequences of the chemical base pairs make up DNA. The research allowed scientists to understand the sets of genetic instructions found in human cells. In people, the genome is 23 pairs of chromosomes. The newest results take that road map further. “This is a story of comprehensiveness,” said Thomas Gingeras, one of the study authors and the head of functional genomics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on New York’s Long Island. “Now we have a large number of these regulatory regions and a sense of when they’re activated.”

Scientists create genetic polymer replacing DNA

Scientists create DNA alternative– expected to reveal how molecules first replicated and drive biotechnology research:

Scientists create DNA alternative

Scientists create DNA alternative

 

Scientists have created artificial genetic material that can store information and evolve over generations in a similar way to DNA – a feat expected to drive research in medicine and biotechnology, and shed light on how molecules first replicated and assembled into life billions of years ago.  Ultimately, the creation of alternatives to DNA could enable scientists to make novel forms of life in the laboratory.  Researchers at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, in Cambridge, developed chemical procedures to turn DNA and RNA, the molecular bases for all known life, into six alternative genetic polymers called XNAs.  The process swaps the deoxyribose and ribose (the “d” and “r” in DNA and RNA) for other molecules. It was found the XNAs could form a double helix with DNA and were more stable than natural genetic material.  In the journal Science the researchers describe how they caused one of the XNAs to stick to a protein, an ability that might mean the polymers could deployed as drugs working like antibodies.  Philipp Holliger, a senior author on the study, said the work proved that two hallmarks of life – heredity and evolution – were possible using alternatives to natural genetic material.  “There is nothing Goldilocks about DNA and RNA,” Holliger told Science. “There is no overwhelming functional imperative for genetic systems or biology to be based on these two nucleic acids.”  Vitor Pinheiro, a co-author on the paper, said the research could help scientists unpick how DNA and RNA became so crucial in the evolution of life, and perhaps even help in the search for extraterrestrial organisms. “If a genetic system doesn’t have to be based on DNA and RNA, what then do you define as life? How do you look for life?” he said.  In an accompanying article, Gerald Joyce, of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, says the study heralds an “era of synthetic genetics, with implications for exobiology [which deals with extraterrestrial life], biotechnology and understanding life itself”. He adds: “Construction of genetic systems based on alternative chemical platforms may ultimately lead to the synthesis of novel forms of life.”  Other scientists, including a team at the J Craig Venter Institute , in Rockville, Maryland, are hoping to make synthetic organisms from scratch, but the majority of the work so far has used conventional DNA.  In his article on the Cambridge study Joyce alludes to the potential dangers of synthetic genetics. He writes: “As one contemplates all the alternative life forms that might be possible with XNAs and other more exotic genetic molecules, the words of Arthur C Clarke come to mind. In 2010: Odyssey Two, HAL the computer tells humanity, ‘all these worlds are yours’, but warns – ‘except [Jupiter’s moon] Europa, attempt no landings there’. Synthetic biologists are beginning to frolic on the worlds of alternative genetics but must not tread into areas that have the potential to harm our biology.”