Showing posts with the label Mutation

Did scientists unearth the secret to aging?

  Image Credit: istockphoto Even the healthiest and luckiest animal, who's never had any illness or disease and has never been in a life-threatening situation, dies. Several predictions have been made that could explain this phenomenon. Most explanations revolve around the idea that DNA mutates over time, causing terminal diseases like cancer . This might lead you to think that large animals should die more quickly than small animals since large animals have more cells that can mutate.   While this idea could explain why small dogs tend to outlive large dogs, it doesn’t explain why the trend isn't always true between different species. For example, mice are far smaller and have far fewer cells than giraffes. It would make sense for mice to be less prone to developing deadly mutations and to live longer as a result. This is clearly not the case, as healthy mice tend to live to around 4 years whereas giraffes can live to be 25.   Why does this happen? And can the typical naked m

Genetic Mutation helps Amish live longer, healthier!

Genetic mutations are usually associated with bad news. A mutation in BRCA genes could put you at risk of breast or ovarian cancer or give you a blood disorder like thalassemia or haemophilia. From cystic fibrosis to phenylketonuria, colour blindness to polycystic kidney, there is a long list ( some rare, some not so rare ) of diseases caused by mutations.  Although, Marvel Comics has done a lot on its part to promote the good that can come out of harboring a rare mutation, the benefits are yet to reach the common man. A commonly cited example for good mutation is the resistance to malaria that is conferred by the Sickle Cell mutation, but it does come with the risk of getting two copies of the mutation and being affected by sickled red blood cells. There are a few other mutations that seem to help people lower their risk for heart diseases, get stronger bones or improve their under water vision .   But, a recently published paper in Science Advances  puts light on

Cell: “I’m not ruled by my genes”

One often comes across the phrase “It’s in my genes” in our day-to-day life. Less than a century after their discovery, the words 'DNA' and 'genes' are commonly used by all and are also a common topic of speculation in the academic as well as the non-academic world. Some scientists believe that "the living body/cell is just a mere vehicle produced and used by the genome to carry on information ahead in time generation after generation”. Readers with a biology background are aware of the “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”; for others let me just brief it. It proposes that DNA in genes produces RNA which in turn produces proteins that give a phenotype to  an individual. It also states that the transfer of information is unidirectional  (DNA to cell ) and not the other way round. This is considered to be the basis of molecular biology. I would like to discuss a few implications of crediting DNA /genes with life in a cell.   Is Inheritance a property of just the DNA?

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