Many believe that our DNA hides all of the necessary information which will eventually help us uncover our origin, meaning, and purpose in the universe. Studying the DNA is something beyond fascinating and in the last couple of years alone, scientists have made huge progress towards deciphering everything that the DNA hides.
Not long ago researchers used a programming language to literally engineer DNA circuits. These circuits can be customised to respond to cues, which eventually change the cell’s activity. Bioengineers were basically able to rewrite a code inside the DNA of a bacteria, changing functions to environmental cues.
This means that while we continue searching for the exact purpose and meaning of DNA, we realize that there are infinite possibilities when it comes to DNA.
However, until today, researchers are fully aware that there is a large number of codes inside our DNA that researchers are still unable to understand. Certain parts of our DNA do not correspond to any known biological function, remaining as one of the greatest mysteries in the study of DNA. However, just because they do not correspond to any function, it does not necessarily mean they are useless.
What these mystery parts inside our DNA are is still an enigma. They could be related to non-physical phenomena, or they could be messages from ‘our creators’ as many researchers have proposed in the past. Maybe we need to study with more detail the human body and human DNA in order to understand whether or not we are alone in the cosmos.
Some researchers refer to these strange parts of DNA as Junk DNA, aka ‘no-code DNA’. However, according to Scientific American that label si completely wrong and we have to rethink everything we knew about DNA.
Now, a group of physicists from the Netherlands have demonstrated for the first time ever via simulations ho there is hidden information inside our DNA which controls evolution. Researchers discovered that a SECOND layer of information exists.
This means that we are not who we are solely because of the information that has been ‘coded’ into our DNA, but also the way that DNA folds itself controlling which genes are expressed inside of our bodies.
Scientists from Leiden University, led by Helmut Schiessel confirmed the existence of mechanical cues ‘coded’ into our DNA. To discover that, physicists simulated genomes of both Baker’s yeast and fission yeast. They randomly assigned a second level of DNA information with mechanical cues. They learned that cues affected which proteins were expressed and how the DNA was folded.
“With this finding we know that evolutionary changes in DNA—mutations—can have two very different effects: the letter sequence encoding for a specific protein can change or the mechanics of the DNA structure can change, resulting in a different packaging and accessibility of the DNA and therefore a different frequency of production of that protein,” the researchers explains in a statement.
According to the study published in the Journal PLoS One, DNA mutations can affect humans in more than one way by altering the letters inside our DNA (A, A T, and C) and by changing different mechanical cues that arrange how strand is folded.