Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Far From ‘Junk,’ DNA Dark Matter Plays Crucial Role

"Among the many mys­ter­ies of hu­man bi­ol­ogy is why com­plex dis­eases like di­a­be­tes, high blood pres­sure and psy­chi­at­ric dis­or­ders are so dif­fi­cult to pre­dict and, of­ten, to treat. An equal­ly per­plex­ing puz­zle is why one in­di­vid­ual gets a dis­ease like can­cer or de­pres­sion, while an iden­ti­cal twin re­mains per­fect­ly healthy.
Now sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered a vi­tal clue to un­rav­el­ing these rid­dles. The hu­man genome is packed with at least four mil­lion gene switch­es that re­side in bits of DNA that once were dis­missed as “junk” but that turn out to play crit­i­cal roles in con­trol­ling how cells, or­gans and oth­er tis­sues be­have. The dis­cov­ery, con­sid­ered a ma­jor med­ical and sci­en­tific break­through, has enor­mous im­pli­ca­tions for hu­man health be­cause many com­plex dis­eases ap­pear to be caused by tiny changes in hun­dreds of gene switch­es." Full article @ The New York Times

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