Monday, April 14, 2014

The Mystery of the Secret Code

Let me tell you a little secret, your body is made up of  about 100,000 billion cells. All these come from one cell. Amazing. But wait there is more, inside each of your cells you have longs strands called DNA. These strands carry information, much like the text you are reading now.

This is amazing right? But there is more, there are specific sections of your DNA that supply the instructions for the manufacturing of the building blocks of life, protein. These segments were recently shown to contain two layers of information! However, we already talked about this in a previous post. So you're like, I know already.

Another study has came out with more to add. Protein coding regions are not the only locations that contain this duplex layer of information. Non-coding regulatory regions are duplex as well!

Think of it this way, you're a cook holding a cook book. Great, but you need some information such as measurement conversions, they type of recipe you want to pick from, etc. So you either go to the index or the outline in the front. Maybe you go to the conversion table in the back of the book. Think of the regulatory regions as the areas that contain this type of information.

While the "recipe" contains two layers of instructions, the "index" and "conversion tables" also contains double meanings. In this study, using zebrafish DNA, the two layers of this regulatory region get used at different times in its life! This highly condensed design is amazing!

Haberle, V. et al. 2014. Two independent transcription initiation codes overlap on vertebrate core promoters. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12974.

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