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Gene regulation makes the human - A stretch of non-coding DNA revs up genes during development
Science News ^ | September 4th, 2008 | Rachel Ehrenberg

Posted on 09/06/2008 1:48:05 PM PDT by neverdem

Genes alone don’t make the man — after all, humans and chimps share roughly 98 percent of their DNA. But where, when and how much genes are turned on may be essential in setting people apart from other primates.

A stretch of human DNA inserted into mice embryos revs the activity of genes in the developing thumb, toe, forelimb and hind limb. But the chimp and rhesus macaque version of this same stretch of DNA spurs only faint activity in the developing limbs, reports a new study in the Sept. 5 Science.

The research supports the notion that changes in the regulation of genes— rather than changes in the genes themselves — were crucial evolutionary steps in the human ability to use fire, invent wheels and ponder existential questions, like what distinguishes people from our primate cousins.

“We’re trying to find out what makes us human,” says geneticist James Noonan of Yale University, who led the study with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Genome Institute of Singapore and the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom. “We know that the things that make us human biologically are encoded in there somewhere.”

Noonan and colleagues combed through the vast regions of human DNA that do not contain code for making proteins. Formerly dissed as “junk DNA,” sections of these non-gene regions are now known to play a regulatory role, dialing down or cranking up the activity of actual genes.

Like electrical wiring in a house, genes may be turned on in many places at once, even though they might only be needed in one area, such as the eye, comments Francesca Mariani of the Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of Southern California,. So while the new study can’t say...

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: crevo; evolution; genetics; godsgravesglyphs; medicine; noncodingdna; science
Human-Specific Gain of Function in a Developmental Enhancer

The regulation and evolution of a genetic switch controlling sexually dimorphic traits in Drosophila.

1 posted on 09/06/2008 1:48:06 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Here's the money quote from the article:

Noonan and colleagues combed through the vast regions of human DNA that do not contain code for making proteins. Formerly dissed as “junk DNA,” sections of these non-gene regions are now known to play a regulatory role, dialing down or cranking up the activity of actual genes.
Dissed as junk DNA because they didn't understand it's function, not because it didn't have one. Bravo for these researchers who are actully trying to do some REAL science!
2 posted on 09/06/2008 2:30:31 PM PDT by Ronzo (Poetry can be a better tool of understanding than tedious scribblings of winners of the Noble Prize)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; 31R1O; ...

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Note: this topic is from 9/06/2008. Thanks neverdem.

Blast from the Past.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

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3 posted on 09/17/2009 3:33:57 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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