Gene Regulation: When Nonsense Makes Perfect Sense

first_imgNature June 31 reports on another use for “junk DNA.”  A portion of previously-considered “nonsense” genetic code, which does not produce a protein as does a gene, nevertheless has an important role: it regulates the expression of the neighboring gene.  This opens a whole new realm of function for portions of our genetic material that were thought to be useless leftovers of evolution: it’s a new kind of gene that regulates other genes (see the Reuters summary on MSNBC News).    Molecular biologists have been intrigued by the fact that the DNA translation machinery seems busier than required to produce proteins: “Why is there such a heavy traffic of RNA polymerases, the enzymes that copy DNA into RNA, and the production of large quantities of apparently non-coding and non-functional RNAs?” the reporters say.  The new work by Martens et al. reported in the same issue shows that “RNA polymerases are evidently doing more than we thought.”  The resulting “nonsense” RNAs produced by reading non-coding segments act as regulators, controlling the amount of protein that is expressed by the true genes by a process of “transcriptional interference.”  What was considered nonsense, therefore, actually makes perfect sense on a higher level:Taken together, these studies highlight the importance of intergenic transcription in regulating gene activity, even in the relatively densely packed genome of yeast.  It seems that RNA polymerases are not only required for the production of particular RNA species, but by travelling along DNA they can also control the occupancy of regulatory sites by transcription factors.  Widespread transcription of intergenic sequences has also been described in the human genome.  Surprisingly, many of these non-coding transcripts seem to be regulated in a manner that is intimately connected to the transcription of protein-coding genes.  So the high proportion of non-coding regions in the genomes of higher organisms is probably not due to the accumulation of nonsense DNA, but rather represents the evolution of ever more complicated gene-regulatory systems.EurekAlert puts this finding into perspective:If so, the findings would carry an important message for the post-human genome era-namely, that researchers’ attempts to turn the masses of data churned out by the Human Genome Project into an understanding of what actually happens in the human body may be even more complex than they anticipated.  One of the main challenges for that effort is to figure out how and when genes are turned on and off during normal development and disease.  Rather than look only at how genes are regulated by proteins, they would have to turn their attention to a new, and possibly more-difficult-to-detect form of control.  And given that junk DNA makes up 95 percent of chromosomes, the mechanism could be fairly common.The article gives the bottom line to one of the researchers, Fred Winston of Harvard Medical School: “Every time we thought we understood everything going on here, we have been wrong.  There are additional layers of complexity.”1Sabine Schmitt and Renato Paro, “Gene regulation: A reason for reading nonsense,” Nature 429, 510 – 511 (03 June 2004); doi:10.1038/429510a.You are witnessing the collapse of an evolutionary myth, the myth of “junk DNA” and “nonsense” genetic code.  We have been chronicling the demise of this mischaracterization for years (see 05/10/2004 headline and work your way back).  No less than Nobel laureate David Baltimore and co-discoverer of DNA structure James Watson propounded this myth (see 08/24/2004 headline).  Though scientists have not yet found a function for all the non-gene segments, every time they look deeper into the genetic code, they see less nonsense and more design.  Evolutionists used to call the vast expanses of non-gene-coding DNA the “gene desert” and supposed it to be the accumulated junk from our evolutionary past.  (As we have pointed out before, this assumption effectively shut down scientific research on these “uninteresting” regions for a long time; an intelligent design approach would have, instead, inquired about their functions – see 10/16/2003 headline).  The “Central Dogma” was that only genes were important, they coded for proteins, and that was that.  Now, the non-gene segments appear to have a coded function of their own, producing RNA molecules that have a key role to play in an even more complex choreography of functional parts working together in a sophisticated ballet.  How then, can they say this “represents the evolution of ever more complicated gene-regulatory systems”?  I didn’t see any evolution here; did you?    Their ending sentence thus qualifies them as winners of Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week, i.e., a claim in support of evolution, based on findings that point to the opposite conclusion.(Visited 30 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Sachin scores record fifth World Cup hundred

first_imgSachin Tendulkar on Sunday reached another milestone as he became the highest century-maker in World Cup history by scoring his fifth hundred in the prestigious event.The 37-year-old Tendulkar reached the landmark during the group B clash against England when he glanced burly paceman Tim Bresnan for a boundary towards the fine leg region in the first ball of the 35th over. It was his 47th ODI century and his 98th overall.Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, current Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his former teammate Mark Waugh have all scored four World Cup hundreds.With Ganguly and Waugh retired, it is only Ponting who has a chance to match or surpass Tendulkar.Tendulkar scored 120 runs from 115 balls and the knock was adorned with five sixes and 10 fours.Tendulkar, playing his sixth World Cup, also holds the records for most runs and most half-centuries in the flagship event of the ICC.He has accumulated 1944 runs in 38 matches and has scored 13 fifties so far, followed by Ponting with 1577 runs in 41 matches.Ganguly is the only other Indian who has managed to score more than one thousand runs in World Cup matches.He scored 1006 runs in 21 matches and stands 11th in the list of highest run scorers in World Cup.During the course of his innings, Tendukar shared a magnificent 134-run partnership with for the second wicket with Gautam Gambhir, who scored 51 runs.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Here’s how to pose the right way to look good in swimwear

first_imgSwimwear can accentuate all your curves, but there are ways you can look slimmer and more confident, according to British-Iranian model Yasmin Le Bon, the new face of swimwear brand Speedo Sculpture 2014 collection.The model’s guide has been launched to help women tackle the anxieties they experience and the fear of the walk from the changing room to the pool, or the towel to the sea, reports is nothing worse then a top too small or bottoms that are cutting inLe Bon, who turns 50 this year, said: “After spending 33 years on the modelling circuit I have heard all of the tricks of the trade. The best advice I’ve received on looking your best in a swimsuit, is to wear it with confidence and a smile; it instantly changes your appearance.”In her handbook, she has suggested the following:Sitting downThe twist and point – Twisting the upper body around at the waist is a great way to make it appear smaller and instantly helps you to lose inches. Whilst sitting down, putting one leg stretched out in front of the other with toes pointed helps to elongate the leg.Get in front of the mirror and see what works best with your body!Lying downThe knee lift – When lying on your back, bringing your knees up to lift the thighs can help to avoid the effect of them feeling flattened against the poolside or lounger and gives a three-dimensional and flattering shape. Arching the back slightly can also help if you’re self-conscious about your stomach or bottom.advertisementThrow on some swimwear and you will find the angle that best suits your bodyWalkingA proud posture – When walking or standing adopting a strong posture is the key to radiating confidence. If you imagine you are trying to hold something between your shoulder blades, it will push your shoulders down and backwards slightly to give a naturally proud posture.The most flattering stance for photos is whatever feels most natural and comfortablePosingHead held high – If you’re posing for photos and not feeling the most confident, it can be tempting to look down and try to hide. Lifting the head away from the chest is the best way to achieve a long elegant neck and avoid creating a double chin.In the sun the most flattering makeup is really minimalThe ExitPause and prepare – Before getting out of the pool it’s a good idea to take a moment to pause and prepare for your exit. You can sweep your hair to one side if you need to, check your swimsuit is in place and ensure you’re feeling confident.A self bronzer or a little tan always helps to look and feel your bestlast_img read more

Samsung ditches all-plastic design with the Galaxy Alpha

first_imgSamsung phones have been known for their plastic bodies. But on Wednesday, Samsung showed an intent to move away from its tried-and-tested design for Galaxy phones and announced Galaxy Alpha, the company’s first Galaxy smartphone to sport a metal frame. Samsung Galaxy AlphaThe Galaxy Alpha is ultra thin at 6.7 mm and has a metal frame, but it retains the dimpled plastic back that we have seen before on the Galaxy S5. This way Samsung will be able to offer the phone in multiple colours without any major manufacturing hassles. In terms of hardware, the Alpha does not exactly compete with the Galaxy S5, because it has a smaller screen and Samsung has made some compromises to fit the components in the thin shell. It has a 4.7-inch 720p screen, a 12-megapixel rear camera and will have either an octa-core or quad-core processor depending on the region it is released in. In all probability for non-LTE markets, Samsung will opt for its own Exynos octa-core CPU, while Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 CPU will be used for markets that have LTE. This means in India, the Alpha is likely to be powered by the octa-core processor.All this horsepower is paired up with 32GB of internal storage and 2GB RAM. It does not have a microSD card for memory expansion. On the front, it has a 2.1-megapixel camera and there is a 1,860mAh battery, which can be removed by the user. Like the Galaxy S5, it also has a heart rate monitor and a fingerprint scanner integrated in the home-button. The phone runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat wrapped in a layer of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. advertisementThe phone will be released across the world in the beginning of September, but there is no word on an India release. It will be available in five colours – black, white, gold, silver and blue.Update : GSMArena has already benchmarked the phone and revealed the quad-core model uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 85 CPU and the octa-core version uses the Exynos 5 octa 5430 chipset.  Follow writer on Twitter @DigitallyBoneslast_img read more