Navigation Links
If junk DNA is useful, why is it not shared more equally?
Date:1/31/2011

The presence of introns in genes requires cells to process "messenger RNA" molecules before synthesizing proteins, a process that is costly and often error-prone. It was long believed that this was simply part of the price organisms paid for the flexibility to create new types of protein but recent work has made it clear that introns themselves have a number of important functions. And so attention is gradually shifting to asking why some organisms have so few introns and others so many.

It seems likely that new introns are added to DNA when double-stranded DNA breaks which may arise from a variety of mechanisms are not repaired "correctly" but the newly created ends are instead joined to other fragments of DNA. Farlow and colleagues at the Institute of Population Genetics of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna reasoned that introns may be lost by a similar mechanism. An examination of areas of DNA where introns are known to have been lost in organisms such as worms and flies provides support for their idea.

DNA breaks may be treated in one of two ways: correct repair (by a relatively time-consuming process known as "homologous recombination") or the rapid and error-prone joining of non-homologous ends. The two pathways are essentially separate and can compete with each other for DNA breaks to work with. The scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna now suggest that species-specific differences in the relative activity of these two pathways might underlie the observed variation in intron number.

The theory represents a fundamental change in the way we think about the evolution of DNA. Evolution has seen periods of large scale intron loss alternating with periods of intron gain and this has been interpreted as the result of changing selection pressure. However, the rates at which single species have gained and lost introns throughout evolution have been found to vary in parallel, consistent with Farlow's notion that the two processes are related. The new theory provides an alternative interpretation: changes in the activities of the "homologous" and "non-homologous" pathways for repairing DNA breaks could cause introns to be lost faster than they are gained, or vice versa.

The idea is consistent with what we currently know about intron numbers, which range from a handful in some simple eukaryotes to more than 180,000 in the human genome. And as Farlow says, "Linking intron gain and loss to the repair of DNA breaks offers a neat explanation for how intron number can change over time. This theory may account for the huge diversity we seen in intron number between different species."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Ashley Farlow
ashley.farlow@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-4333
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Shared survival mechanism explains why good nerve cells last and bad cancer cells flourish
2. Periodontitis and myocardial infarction: A shared genetic predisposition
3. Bolivian rainforest study suggests feeding behavior in monkeys and humans have ancient, shared roots
4. Freshwater sustainability challenges shared by Southwest and Southeast, researchers find
5. Hard-to-find fish reveals shared developmental toolbox of evolution
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 ... by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) ... Analytics Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In ... top 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic ... recognized CHS for its high level of EMR ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , a provider ... today announced the release of the SentiVeillance ... improved facial recognition using up to 10 surveillance, ... computer. The new version uses deep neural-network-based facial ... it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... May 18, 2017 , ... ... procedure on April 28, 2017 at the Prince Of Wales Private Hospital. The ... disc at level C6-C7. The patient failed conservative treatments prior to undergoing surgery. ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... NDA Partners Chairman Carl Peck, MD , ... Advantar Laboratories and President of Pharmaceutical Development Business Unit of Cardinal Health, has joined ... Cardinal Health, he was former Chief Operating Officer at Anaborex, Senior VP and General ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... USDM ... firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, is honored that Jay ... Medical Devices conference in Brussels, Belgium. , Crowley played a crucial role in ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... Many complicated ... likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, while men are at greater risk for Parkinson’s ... neuronal bias is the aim of a research program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute ...
Breaking Biology Technology: