DNA doubletalk discovered, according to ScienceDaily 12 December 2013 and ABC News in Science 14 December 2013 and Science vol. 342. p1367 DOI: 10.1126/science.1243490. It has long been known that genes are sequences of DNA “letters” which code for amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are used to build the body structure and control body functions. However, genes also need to be regulated, i.e. turned on and off at the right times. One of the ways genes are regulated is by transcription factors (TFs) – proteins that bind to DNA at specific binding sites also coded for by DNA. Thus DNA can code for proteins and for gene regulation. A team of scientists led by John Stamatoyannopoulos of University of Washington have found that many genes in the human genome contain code that is used for both functions. The pieces of DNA information that code for the building blocks of proteins are named codons. The researchers named the codons that are also used in regulatory code “duons”. The team looked for transcription factor binding sites in more than 80 types of human cells and found “almost 15% of human codons are dual-use codons (‘duons’) that simultaneously specify both amino acids for proteins and TF recognition sites”. Stamatoyannopoulos commented: “For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made. Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. These new findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways”. The researchers hope their discovery will help how changes in DNA cause disease. Stamatoyannopoulos explained: “The fact that the genetic code can simultaneously write two kinds of information 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”. The research is part of a big project named ENCODE, which is studying where genetic information is stored and regulated.
Editorial Comment: The description of DNA as “an incredibly powerful information storage device” reminds us that like manmade storage devices such as a DVD or computer hard disc, the storage medium does not create the information. All such information is placed on the medium by an outside intelligence who uses the properties of the device to hold that information, but the information originated in the mind the person who composed it, coded it and then placed the code on the storage medium. The fact that the DNA is proving to be an even greater storage device than any man-made device, reminds us again that there is no excuse for failing to acknowledge the brilliance of the Creator, who designed and created DNA and encoded the information on it. (Ref. biochemistry, genetics, nucleic acids)
Evidence News, vol.14, No.2
26 February 2014
Creation Research Australia