Genetics news & views from students enrolled in BIOL 2110 at Stockton University.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Genes that separate humans from fruit flies found
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have discovered the reason why mammals, humans in particular, are more complex than every other animal. They took data from the genomes of nine different animals, including fruit flies, sea urchins, nematode worms, and macaque monkeys. They expected to find genes that interacted directly with DNA to affect other genes, but that wasn't the case. They found genes that interacted with chromatin, the packaged form of DNA in the cell's nucleus. They also found a small number of proteins that were better at interacting with other proteins and with chromatin. The amounts of these proteins differ in every animal, leading researchers to believe it has something to do with animal cell complexity. The proteins made by one specific gene -NCoR - show up once in sea urchins and twice in humans, produce just one type of RNA in sea urchins and over 30 in humans, and have an increased number of domains from one in sea urchins and three in humans. Understanding of the difference in complexity in humans and animals at a genetic level will provide better choices for animal models in bio-medicine and research. Biomedical scientists also rely on better understanding diseases by studying them in animals. If they're studying diseases that are potentially simpler in animals than in humans, then a complete cure could not be possible.