Scientific discovery reveals that human DNA has begun to evolve – Enseñame de Ciencia

It is true that the differences we have with other primates are quite obvious, such as the cognitive development, thinking, and technology creation that characterize us as a species. It is in our cells, precisely in our DNA, that truly amazing processes take place, which are considered unexpected, given the fact that in well-studied regions of our genome new small genes are created that have an immediate or subsequent biological function. Create.

In order to reach a better understanding of this topic, it is necessary to clarify some matters, for which we will divide the topic into sections.

What is a gene?

A gene is a specific region of our genome, which consists of nucleotides, which code for products such as proteins, peptides, and RNAs with different functions. A gene is the basic unit of heredity, that is, these regions will be passed down from parents to offspring and will contain instructions on how to function or present the characteristic traits.

The gene body consists of a regulatory region, in which there is a section called ‘promoter’ and another part that contains introns (non-coding DNA) and exons (coding DNA). It can be measured from hundreds of base pairs (small genes) to thousands of base pairs (large genes).

What is junk DNA?

DNA that did not code for proteins and was thought to have no function was called junk DNA. Since there were mutations in those regions, there was no effect on health or metabolic activity. However, new studies have found that this DNA may have regulatory functions and is essential for its existence.

The amazing find

Scientists from the Institute for Basic Biomedical Research, Research Center for Biomedical Sciences “Alexander Fleming”, Vari in Greece, have discovered 155 new “small” genes (by the number of nucleotides that make them up), which are formed in non-coding regions (the so-called junk DNA). in it). which already have basic functions, so it is important to study them and give us an idea of ​​their rapid development.

These genes are considered to have been created “from scratch” because they come from regions previously thought to be devoid of information. Due to their size, these genes have been difficult to find and study, but with the help of new technologies, a better understanding of them can be gained.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have found a set of tiny proteins that are encoded by these tiny genes, which were previously classified as junk DNA.

Some of these microgens arose recently and others have been with us much longer, as when species Homo sapiens branched off from chimpanzees.

The evolution of our genome is active, and the discovery of these new microspheres is evidence of this and completely changes the concept that has been put forward about non-coding DNA. This is another argument, that science cannot be dogmatic.

This study has been published in the journal Cell Reports.

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