Guardians Of The Genome

This AllTheus design is part of the “Evolution is True” collection.

Our DNA is a fantastic bit of information storing code. Using only 4 base pairs it has enabled all the life that we know about to evolve. Sometimes things go wrong but we have repair mechanisms as part of this marvelous system and Professors Emmanuelle Charpentier & Jennifer Doudna won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020 for the pioneering work on the CRISPR means of genetic surgery (used in preference to editing to recognize that irreversible mistakes can go wrong in CRISPR vs being able to undo editing) that holds out the promise of new illness diagnosis and treatment methods.

The design was inspired by a comment by Cambridge University’s Dr Serena Nik-Zainal discussing the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer (c15 minutes into the BBC’s Inside Science 25 Jun 2020 podcast on the20th Anniversary the Human Genome Project) and how transposons can be both guardians of and guerillas that hinder proper DNA replication.

Our genome and its integrity is guarded not by peculiar extraterrestrials with whizz bang weaponry but by amazing molecules that (mostly) guard against and repair transcription errors and mitigate the effect of mutations. Once again reality is more amazing than fiction!

And why the inclusion of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans  (or, more simply, C. elegans)? This relates to Nobel laureate Sydney Brennan’s work on it as a model organism  for the investigation of developmental biology. In embryonic development we can sometimes see evolution’s path, amazing to think that our 46 chromosomes contains the 20-25,000 genes encoding the information to make us.

Some links to some podcasts featuring Professor Paul Davies discussing the topic of information in relation to understanding and treating cancer and viruses are below

Solving the mystery of cancer (18 August 2019) and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Late Night Live of 14 Dec 2015 here

Viruses and life

A profile of Professor Paul Davies and his work

This AllTheus design is part of the “Evolution is True” collection.

Our DNA is a fantastic bit of information storing code. Using only 4 base pairs it has enabled all the life that we know about to evolve. Sometimes things go wrong but we have repair mechanisms as part of this marvelous system and Professors Emmanuelle Charpentier & Jennifer Doudna won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020 for the pioneering work on the CRISPR means of genetic surgery (used in preference to editing to recognize that irreversible mistakes can go wrong in CRISPR vs being able to undo editing) that holds out the promise of new illness diagnosis and treatment methods.

The design was inspired by a comment by Cambridge University’s Dr Serena Nik-Zainal discussing the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer (c15 minutes into the BBC’s Inside Science 25 Jun 2020 podcast on the20th Anniversary the Human Genome Project) and how transposons can be both guardians of and guerillas that hinder proper DNA replication.

Our genome and its integrity is guarded not by peculiar extraterrestrials with whizz bang weaponry but by amazing molecules that (mostly) guard against and repair transcription errors and mitigate the effect of mutations. Once again reality is more amazing than fiction!

And why the inclusion of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans  (or, more simply, C. elegans)? This relates to Nobel laureate Sydney Brennan’s work on it as a model organism  for the investigation of developmental biology. In embryonic development we can sometimes see evolution’s path, amazing to think that our 46 chromosomes contains the 20-25,000 genes encoding the information to make us. (A lighthearted discussion of how fruit flies are used to study developmental biology can be found in this BBC Infinite Monkey Cage podcast from Chicago featuring evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne particularly about 25 min in).

Some links to other podcasts featuring Professor Paul Davies discussing the topic of information in relation to understanding and treating cancer and viruses are below

Solving the mystery of cancer (18 August 2019) and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Late Night Live of 14 Dec 2015 here

Viruses and life

A profile of Professor Paul Davies and his work

Jerry Coyne’s FIVE PART SUMMARY OF EVOLUTION

  • Evolution occurred via genetic change across populations of organisms
  • Substantial changes in populations occur gradually
  • Besides change in a single lineage there is splitting of lineages – speciation - that gives us our branching tree or bush of life.
  • The reverse of (3) - If you trace these branches of the “tree” back you will eventually find intersection nodes or branching points indicating common ancestry;
  • The evolutionary changes of adaptations that enable genes to be transmitted to successive and successfully surviving offspring that themselves reproduce in the process of natural selection.