Thursday, October 1, 2015

Secret DNA Language

Work by Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos has discovered a secret language, if you will. About 15% of DNA’s 64-letter alphabet (codons) are dual-use codons (duons) that simultaneously specify both amino acids and transcription factor (TF) sequences. This means that many DNA changes that appear to alter protein sequences may actually cause disease by disrupting gene control programs or even both mechanisms simultaneously. For example, (e.g., sickle cell anemia can be caused by a change in one single gene). If you think of DNA as a language with 64 letters in its alphabet, it makes sense (metaphorically) that if one of the words is misspelled, the meaning to the phrase or sentence can be completely changed. Imagine you were writing a paper for school and instead of using the word ‘mine’ your used the word ‘mime.’ That ‘mistake’ could give an entirely different meaning to the gist of your paper and could result in the professor giving you a lower grade. More tomorrow.

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