Sunday, November 27, 2011
Maybe we really are what we eat
Scientists from Nanjing University have come to find that vegetables harbor strands of microscopic RNA know as MicroRNA (or miRNA for short). This small genetic material, upon consumption, makes its way into the bloodstream of the consumer and manages to find and bind to an RNA strand with a matching sequence. This selective attachment process allows the miRNA to repress the expression of the original gene. Research has shown that one specific strand found in rice, MIR168a, has lead to the inhibition of LDL filtration (commonly known as bad cholesterol) in the livers of mice. Despite the fledgling nature of this discovery, it is exciting to think of the possible physiological benefits MicroRNA may be able to provide, its greatest point of potential being in the repressing of deleterious genes.