Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The human Y-chromosome and so-called junk DNA

Zee News:

Scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here have demonstrated that junk DNA in human Y-chromosome control the function of a gene located in another chromosome.

For long, the scientific community believed that 97 per cent of DNA material is junk and has no specific role to play in the functioning of organs.

"The study, published in the International Journal Genome Research, will open up a new approach to unravel the function of the non-coding DNA in our genome," CCMB Director Lalji Singh, who led the research effort, told reporters here today.

The Y-chromosome is present only in men. Two-thirds of it contains repetitive DNA that has been thought of as junk or useless.

However, the CCMB study clearly demonstrated that the Y-chromosomal junk DNA interacts and controls the function of a gene located in another chromosome that is not limited to a sex.

"The study shows unequivocal evidence, for the first time, that 40 mega base repeat block of the Y-chromosome, which was earlier perceived as junk DNA, is transcribed into RNA and controls the expression of a protein by a mechanism described as trans-splicing," Singh said.

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Not Man, Men

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