A second DNA code that was recently discovered by U.S. scientists has sparked a tremendous response from the worldwide scientific community. The second DNA code contains information that should shed new light on genetic mutations in health and disease development, reveals a study from the University of Washington which was published Thursday.
As mentioned in an earlier report, the second DNA code follows the previous genetic code that was deciphered in the '60s. Previously, scientists thought that DNA (aka deoxyribonucleic acid -contains the biological instructions that make each species unique) cells contained only necessary information to write about proteins.
As noted by a report from the University of Washington, scientists were shocked when they learned that genomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages simultaneously; one can make the proteins and the other gives instructions to cells to determine the control of different genes, says Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, assistant professor of genomics and Medicine at the University of Washington, one of the co-authors of this discovery which was published in the American Journal Science on December 12.
“For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said Stamatoyannopoulos. These new findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways.”
Both codes in DNA have evolved in concert with one other, specify the researchers. The code that controls the genetic instructions appears to help stabilize some beneficial characteristics of proteins and how they are produced. This finding has major implications on how scientists and physicians interpret the genome of a patient, which gives new insights for diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Scientists that discovered the second DNA code explained that it contains information that could clarify the genetic mutations in patients.
“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,” said Stamatoyannopoulos.
“Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture,” he concluded.