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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:45 am 
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Where is my DNA situated? Inside every cell of your body. Each cell (except for sperm or eggs) has a perfect copy of your whole genome. Our genome consists of 23 pairs of chromossomes. Each chromossome is a long linear double-strand molecule. We inherit one of each chromossome from one of our parents (thus making a pair...).
slime.oofytv.set wrote:
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Now, it was annouced that a bacteria from Mono Lake alledgedly substitutes the phosphate ions on the backbone of DNA for arsenate (from arsenic) instead, opening a new chapter on the understanding of Genetics, Evolution and the likeness of 'alien' Life (as a matter of fact our life on Earth might be Alien, check panspermia

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Arf!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:34 am 
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More breaking news:

DNA Molecules Can 'Teleport,' Nobel Winner Says

A Nobel Prize winning biologist has ignited controversy after publishing details of an experiment in which a fragment of DNA appeared to 'teleport' or imprint itself between test tubes.

According to a team headed by Luc Montagnier, previously known for his work on HIV and AIDS, two test tubes, one of which contained a tiny piece of bacterial DNA, the other pure water, were surrounded by a weak electromagnetic field of 7Hz.

Eighteen hours later, after DNA amplification using a polymerase chain reaction, as if by magic the DNA was detectable in the test tube containing pure water.

Oddly, the original DNA sample had to be diluted many times over for the experiment to work, which might explain why the phenomenon has not been detected before, assuming that this is what has happened.

The phenomenon might be very loosely described as 'teleportation' except that the bases project or imprint themselves across space rather than simply moving from one place to another.

To be on the safe side, Montagnier then compared the results with controls in which the time limit was lowered, no electromagnetic field was present or was present but at lower frequencies, and in which both tubes contained pure water. On every one of these, he drew a blank.

The quantum effect - the imprinting of the DNA on the water - is not in itself the most contentious element of the experiment, so much as the relatively long timescales over which it appears to manifest itself. Quantum phenomena are assumed to show their faces in imperceptible fractions of a second and not seconds minutes and hours, and usually at very low temperatures approaching absolute zero.

Revealing a process through which biology might display the underlying 'quantumness' of nature at room temperature would be startling.

Montagnier's experiment will have to be repeated by others to have any hope of being taken seriously. So far, some scientists have been publically incredulous.

"It is hard to understand how the information can be stored within water over a timescale longer than picoseconds," said the Ruhr University in Bochum's Klaus Gerwert, quoted by New Scientist magazine, which broke the story.

What does all of this mean? It could be that the propagation of life is able to make use of the quantum nature of reality to project itself in subtle ways, as has been hinted at in previous experiments. Alternatively, it could be that life itself is a complex projection of these quantum phenomena and utterly depends on them in ways not yet understood because they are incredibly hard to detect.

Speculatively, (and Montagnier doesn't directly suggest anything so unsubstantiated), it could also be the little-understood quantum properties of the water molecule and not just its more obvious chemical bonding properties that gives it such a central role in the bio-engineering of life-forms. Water might be a good medium in which DNA can copy itself using processes that hint at quantum entanglement and 'teleportation' (our term).

Montagnier's paper goes on to discuss the phenomenon he claims to have uncovered using 'quantum field theory' within the context of his personal interest, disease propagation.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/216767/dna_molecules_can_teleport_nobel_winner_says.html?tk=hp_new


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:59 am 
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A DNA microarray, By MGG:

A DNA microarray is a powerful tool Uncle Meat and other crazy scientists can use to actually study the reactions of genes to environmental variation (when is a particular gene shut down, when is it active?). This is done in a large output fashion and allows for the verification of which genes are interesting from those which are not, scanning many, many genes at once.

You can get a representative collection of DNA fragments representing parts of the genome of the organism of your choice, say a 'gobbid' fish from the Zappa genus, doing OK, living happily in a river in a forest in Papua New Guinea...

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Now we want to test how all those little Zappa fish respond to water pollution. So we take a Zappa fish specimen living on clean water, extract his liver and proceed to purify his RNA molecules from liver cells. We will call this the RNA population A. We repeat the procedures on a similar fish (ideally, a genetic clone) living on polluted water...

Now, at this point we need to partially recall and partially explain that RNA molecules are essential living stuff from which live is made of, and they constitute an intermediary between the world of GENES and the world of PROTEINS (fundamental molecules which make living creature's building blocks). So whenever one of your genes is activated it produces 'carbon copies' molecules which are messenger RNAs - mRNAs - (as the carriers of the messages first contained in DNA, that particular and singular nucleotide gene sequence). That means you can conclude if a gene is on or off whether you can find its correspondent sequence in the form of mRNAs.

At this point comes the reflective knowledge for the day:

All of our average 50 trillion cells in our individual body, contains (or at least contained one day) an exact complete copy of our whole individual genome (your individual genome's genotype is exclusively yours and no others'). So why is, say, a brain cell fundamentally different from an intestine cell, if both have the same genome, and hence the same set of genetic instructions??? Answer: because not all of your genes are active at the same time or in all your different cell types, tissues and organs...

So getting back to our Zappa fish: we can assume the liver is an organ directly affected by river pollution, because it will produce all of those enzymes to fight the toxic substances in his body). So we just had extracted mRNA from the livers of fishes living in clean vs polluted waters. A and B respectively.

We can produce 'negative' DNA copies (cDNAs) of those RNAs, and we can paint (label with a colour emitting molecule) A and B populations with Green and Red dyes, respectively, also called 'reference' and 'test' on the picture below:

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So we plot our original representative DNA collection on a glass surface (a very tight collection of minimal dots on a laminae) and we precede to hybridize the coloured cDNA molecules with our standard collection (which is a sample from the whole genome in question). Hybridization is a basic feature of nucleic acids, because of base complementarity, as discussed above. This is why DNA is a double strand (and RNA is a single strand copied from one DNA strand, or half a double strand).

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So, if a gene is seen glowing Red it points to a gene that was switched on in the pollution situation and which was previously switched off in clean water environment. You can say that because in the polluted liver there was RNA (transformed in Red cDNA) corresponding to this gene which the red cDNA molecule combined over the microarray (that particular spot on the whole collection).

Thus, the Green spots represent genes which were active in a clean situation and were switched off on the polluted environment.

Yellow and black dots don't concern us, because they represent genes which did not react to the environmental variation (lack or presence of pollution in the water). Red + Green = Yellow so yellow dots represent genes active in both situation and black dots represent genes that were not active on either situation...

This is what allows us to identify, among a myriad of genes, which are particular relevant to certain traits and situations. For example, instead of clean vs polluted water, the very same system could target what genes are relevant to certain kinds of cancer, comparing healthy vs tumoral cells gene expression profile...

Phew...

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_microarray

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:31 pm 
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you should know about DNA becuase it drives every living thing on this planet to self-propagate at all costs. it is the 'selfish gene' and even between themselves can cause trouble (transposons!)

you humans and the countless microbes living on/in you are nothing more than vessels for your DNA, competing to have your DNA be the 'best' and most abundant

its too fascinating


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:18 am 
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It is definitively a valid view, although not the sole one...

You can have a more cooperative view of things (as opposed to selfish) if you zoom out to the community levels (ensemble of different species) functioning together as organs in a Gaia superorganism...

Life = the ultimate secret of the universe...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:54 am 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
It is definitively a valid view, although not the sole one...

You can have a more cooperative view of things (as opposed to selfish) if you zoom out to the community levels (ensemble of different species) functioning together as organs in a Gaia superorganism...

Life = the ultimate secret of the universe...


yes very true. many different kinds of communities exist, starting from biofilms and gut commensals to the USA (does that count?). but im a huge cynic, even with other living things :)

to me the community is still selfish. they only work together because it benefits themselves first. and in terms of self-sacrifice for the group, as in say apoptosis (okay thats a multicellular organism so maybe thats a bit different...hmm), i still see it as just doing whatever possible to help the success of the DNA carrier. but then some guys go rogue! its like, hey, we have very similar DNA, so lets work together and make OUR dna kick some ass out there. it seems like another level of 'doing the best to survive and propagate'
which is weird because any group or species that oversteps its boundaries and becomes over-dominant, usually ends up getting a huge backlash bringing their numbers down (ie depleting their environment. predator v prey relationship)

it makes you wonder the point of it all if everything is competing against everything else, but then if something oversteps the boundaries or greatly upsets the balance, its gets pushed back. but that could be for the best of everything? keeping things in check and maybe even keeping us from making ourselves extinct. that could be as you say, this 'Gaia Superorganism' maybe thats a better view....i mean look at how friendly the plants have been to us!

this is too much nonsense to get into, and i can ramble on about this til i die.... so many forces at play...i wonder if we humans can sustain our one-sided dominance of the environment around us. those bastards threw smallpox at us lol...now our antibiotics barely work.

back to the original points, its just two sides of the same coin, as you say. different takes on the same sample set of data

you are what you is, and thats encoded in your DNA, so read about it!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:11 am 
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Thanks for the interesting input, joefc. I imagine Smallpox agents are viruses, traditional antibiotics would never deal with them, they are exclusively for bacteria...

There are many forces at play in the theatre of life, but there is also a thin subtle delicate common thread that unites all live creation that seems to converge to the Source... Our primitive science should not be used as base for leap assumptions of the real nature of the universal stuff we are all made of... Actually it has been finding the right conceptual and mathematical tools to deal with this question more honestly in the realm of quantum physics (that now is apparently showing its interfaces with DNA), but traditional market illuminati-materialistic capitalist post-modern western minded way of life (that of society general and scientists as well) has been postponing the intellectual break of the levee that is about to come with all this shit is being put together in our apocalyptic world...

Back to the program, let me stick this diagram here, it is about an enzyme called R'N'R (!), Ribonucleotyde Reductase which is responsible for creating the right building blocks for DNA (Deoxyribonucleotides) out of the blocks that build RNA (Ribonucleotides). Therefore it helps to regulate the quantity of DNA inside the cell, in a way that it maintain the weight ratio of DNA/cell constant. It is atypical because it has an action mechanism using free radicals (dangerous guys inside the cell). Its understanding can help in the lines of fighting cancer and other diseases such as Malaria:

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribonucleotide_reductase

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:32 am 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
Thanks for the interesting input, joefc. I imagine Smallpox agents are viruses, traditional antibiotics would never deal with them, they are exclusively for bacteria...



just to clarify: was just mentioning the smallpox epidemic, and THEN antibiotic resistant bugs as ways of the 'balance' pushing humans complete dominance back a little. and in the end, it is harsh to say, but it's probably for our own good...i dont think id have a job if i thought antibiotics worked on viruses though!


interesting stuff you keep posting btw, but that stuff is a bit complex for most people outside of the field to understand. especially if they dont first know the difference between, say, the 3' and 5' ends and why they exist.

but i love em, so keep posting!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:51 am 
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OK Joe, I figured you would know that already... In fact it is one of the problems involving antibiotics resistance evolution in pathogenic bugs. No matter the origin of the sore throat (virus or bacteria) you might be ordered to take antibiotics, when you only need it for the later...).

But my intention was exactly to dismystify this subject to assorted Zappa fans, since it is increasingly affecting our culture, from several fronts (health, justice, securitry, agriculture. I am sure some people here wonder about transgenics, eugenics, DNA paternity essays and etc...). In order to understand and discuss all the legislation to come that might affect everyone's lives, one has to make efforts in the sense of understanding general science.

Thanks and feel free to contribute in a serious or humorous way (or both)...

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Figure: Semi-conservative DNA replication emphasizing one continuos and other discontinuously synthesized new strands as the replication fork moves in one direction. This happens because nature is only capable of adding new building blocks to DNA (or RNA) at the 3' extremity (as mentioned by joe) and remembering that both strands on DNA are anti-parallel in a sort of molecular 69 (see page 1)... Blue: old DNA template strands; Red: Newly syntesized single DNA strands; Green: RNA Primer (ephemeral short RNA strands which provide the necessary 3' carbon OH group to the reaction of linking different links (nucleotides in one single strand DNA chain...)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:25 am 
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They need to reproduce!

Reflections on sexual reproduction.

Sexual reproduction is the way two so called diploid organisms combine half of each one's genetic material (DNA*).

Differently from an asexual reproducing being, such as bacteria, we do not strictly replicate, but we abide passing two times more genes to the next generation than we actually do.

A bacteria (haploid) passes 100% of their DNA to both daughter cells. Remember each DNA molecule (the circle inside de cell in the pic below - unlike ours, bacteria DNA is circular like a double stranded ring) replicates to yield two identical hi-fi copies:
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We, on the other hand, randomly pick one out of two possible of each of our genes. We are diploid (2n), that means that our genome is like a mirrored HDD that has two copies of each bit written on it in the moment of conception, that corresponds to each type of chromosome we have being doubled. We inherit one of each chromosome from our mother and one from our father, so we have two copies of each gene in the genome. In this case, we can have hi-fi versions of each backed-up copy of one particular gene (we are homozygous) or we have two variant forms of that particular gene (we are heterozygous). Sort of having both an original LP copy AND the mutant WOIIFTM CD. It is the same general architecture and theme, but it is different by a few details and gross characteristics. You have both, so you can listen to one in some moods and the other in other moods. Or you can be preferential to only one (analogous to genetic dominance) and never listen to one copy. In the case of the DNA it would be a few letters (A or T or G or C) varying from one copy to the other.

So we only pass 50% of our genetic material to our children and the other 50% is a joint enterprise of the reproductive partner. 50-50

Because we have 23 pairs of such chromosomes, and what we understand to be 25.000 genes (roughly each doubled), and our reproductive cells randomly pick just one from Fathers/Mothers origin, our reproductive cells, the sperm (n) and egg (n), carry an unique combinations of genes from each parent.

When two human reproductive cells join to form a new human, a never before seen genetic combination arises each reproductive event, with a never before attempted genetic combination, making each new diploid being genetically different from both parents and different than any other living or ever existing (future and past) human being.

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*nDNA or nuclear DNA, which resides inside of the cell's nuclei... We talk about mitochondrial DNA in other occasion.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:25 am 
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And where exactly does the baby become two adults?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:18 am 
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LOL :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:42 am 
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Mammoths' extinction not due to inbreeding, study finds

The last known population of woolly mammoths did not "inevitably" die out because of inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity, a study suggests.


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Scientists used techniques normally used to tackle crime scenes to carry out DNA analysis of samples taken from Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.

They said that it was more likely that human activity or environmental factors killed off the healthy creatures.

Their work is published in the journal Molecular Ecology.

Although mammoths generally died out and disappeared from mainland Eurasia and North America around 10,000 years ago, about 500-1,000 mammoths continued to survive on Wrangel Island for a further 6,000 years.

The 7,000 sq km Wrangel is about 140km from the Russian mainland.
Diversity problems

Scientists working together in the UK and Sweden also say their research could have immense implications for modern-day conservation programmes.

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“We wanted to find out why these mammoths became extinct”

Love Dalen Swedish Museum of Natural History

They examined bones, teeth and tusks from the island and compared these with samples found in Chukotka in north-east Siberia.

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The scientists analysed DNA from tusks, bones and teeth of mammoths

Report co-author Dr Love Dalen from the department of molecular systematics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History told the BBC the team had been working on the study since 2008.

He said: "We wanted to find out why these mammoths became extinct.

"Wrangel Island is not that big and it was initially thought that such a small population could have suffered problems of inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity."

He said many previous studies of mammoth DNA had focused on using mitochondrial DNA - genetic information which is passed down on the maternal line.

As cells contain multiple copies of the mitochondrial genome, this DNA is easier to extract from ancient remains than the DNA found in the nucleus of cells.

"But the problem is mammoths don't display that much genetic variation - especially towards the end of their line," Dr Dalen explained.

"We decided to focus on microsatellites (repeated sequences in the DNA) to compare genetic fingerprints of each individual mammoth. This gave us access to nuclear DNA and gave us far stronger results."

He said that during the ice age, the total mammoth population in Eurasia dipped from tens of thousands to very few.

Dr Dalen added: "The DNA investigations found there was a 30% loss in genetic diversity as the population levels dropped - but that was to be expected.
"But when we examined the samples from the island, there reached a point when this reached a plateau and there was no more loss. This stage continued until the creatures became extinct.

"This therefore rejects the inbreeding theory. The mammoths on the island were isolated for nearly 6,000 years but yet managed to maintain a stable population."

The report concluded that the island was large enough for the creatures and so the final extinction was "not a delayed outcome of an inevitable process" such as inbreeding.

"This suggests that the final extinction was caused by a rapid change in the mammoths' environment, such as the arrival of humans or a change in climate, rather than a gradual decline in population size," the study concludes.

Dr Dalen said further investigation focusing on finding the last few woolly mammoths was needed but added: "If humans hunted them to extinction, I would expect us to find evidence of that. I'm personally leaning towards environmental change."

"But when we examined the samples from the island, there reached a point when this reached a plateau and there was no more loss. This stage continued until the creatures became extinct.

"This therefore rejects the inbreeding theory. The mammoths on the island were isolated for nearly 6,000 years but yet managed to maintain a stable population."

The report concluded that the island was large enough for the creatures and so the final extinction was "not a delayed outcome of an inevitable process" such as inbreeding.

"This suggests that the final extinction was caused by a rapid change in the mammoths' environment, such as the arrival of humans or a change in climate, rather than a gradual decline in population size," the study concludes.

Dr Dalen said further investigation focusing on finding the last few woolly mammoths was needed but added: "If humans hunted them to extinction, I would expect us to find evidence of that. I'm personally leaning towards environmental change."

The researchers - who studied 76 samples altogether - also used a computational approach to investigate the population size on the island and how the genetic make-up of the creatures had changed over the years.

The team found that there was a sharp decease in the numbers of mammoths in north-east Siberia during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition (about 12,000 years ago). But the group concluded this was likely to be because the Wrangel Island mammoths became increasingly isolated as the sea levels rose around them.

Dr Dalen said: "We took a statistical approach to the genetics and data. We found that there were at least 500-1,000 mammoths at any one time living on the island before they died out.
Significant moment

He said this had immense implications for current research.

"What's really interesting is that maintaining 500 effective individuals is a very common target in conservation programmes.

"Our results therefore support the idea that such an effective population size is enough to maintain genetic diversity for thousands of years.

"These mammoths did fine with what was originally considered to be a small number," he said.

The scientists' work has been reviewed by evolutionary geneticist and University College London Professor Mark Thomas.

He said they had produced a significant moment in mammoth research.

"They have carried out the detailed research in the way it needs to be done but hadn't yet been done before.

"They examined the DNA of multiple samples and they showed that by having a constant size population, the Wrangel Island mammoths were not just doomed to die.

"Something happened to kill all of them - but what that is we do not know yet. That is the next step," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17457561

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:41 pm 
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They crossed Michael. Look what he did to Fredo!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
More breaking news:

DNA Molecules Can 'Teleport,' Nobel Winner Says

Eighteen hours later, after DNA amplification using a polymerase chain reaction, as if by magic the DNA was detectable in the test tube containing pure water.

Oddly, the original DNA sample had to be diluted many times over for the experiment to work, which might explain why the phenomenon has not been detected before, assuming that this is what has happened.

The phenomenon might be very loosely described as 'teleportation' except that the bases project or imprint themselves across space rather than simply moving from one place to another.



Exciting news for Homeopaths world-wide, I'm guessing.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:30 pm 
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Ghosts don't have DNA.

I read it in Rolling Stone, so it's gotta be true.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:45 am 
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Gray_Ghost wrote:
Ghosts don't have DNA.

I read it in Rolling Stone, so it's gotta be true.

There are controversies around it. Recently Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier said he found a sort of electro-magnetic-ghost-like effect from certain DNA sequences...

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:44 am 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
Gray_Ghost wrote:
Ghosts don't have DNA.

I read it in Rolling Stone, so it's gotta be true.

There are controversies around it. Recently Nobel Laureate Luc Montagnier said he found a sort of electro-magnetic-ghost-like effect from certain DNA sequences...



I personally think that the "missing force" that physicists are searching for to develop a Unified Field Theory will probably have something to do with what we call the Spiritual plain, this would go a long way to explaining paranormal phenomena. That would also explain why they are having some much trouble determining what that force is and its general nature…just thinking out loud…

:smoke:


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:51 pm 
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According to my line of investigation, your lead is correct, Sir...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Evolution seen in 'synthetic DNA'

Researchers have succeeded in mimicking the chemistry of life in synthetic versions of DNA and RNA molecules.


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Molecules called polymerases help to faithfully copy the genetic information stored in single strands of DNA

The work shows that DNA and its chemical cousin RNA are not unique in their ability to encode information and to pass it on through heredity.

The work, reported in Science, is promising for future "synthetic biology" and biotechnology efforts.

It also hints at the idea that if life exists elsewhere, it could be bound by evolution but not by similar chemistry.

In fact, one reason to mimic the functions of DNA and RNA - which helps cells to manufacture proteins - is to determine how they came about at the dawn of life on Earth; many scientists believe that RNA arose first but was preceded by a simpler molecule that performed the same function.

However, it has remained unclear if any other molecule can participate in the same unzipping and copying processes that give DNA and RNA their ability to pass on the information they carry in the sequences of their nucleobases - the five letters from which the genetic code is written.
'No Goldilocks'
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

There is nothing 'Goldilocks' about DNA and RNA - there is no overwhelming functional imperative for genetic systems or biology to be based on them”

Philipp Holliger Medical Research Council

The classic double-helix structure of DNA and RNA are like a twisted ladder, where the steps are made from paired nucleobases.

Philipp Holliger of the UK Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology and a team of colleagues created six different DNA- and RNA-like molecules - xeno-nucleic acids, or XNAs - by replacing not the nucleobases but the sugar groups that make up the sides of the ladder.

"There's a lot of chemisty that seeks to build alternative nucleic acids, and people have been modifying the bases, the sugars and the backbone, but what we were focusing on was the type of nucleic acid or polymers that would retain the ability to communicate with the natural DNA," Dr Holliger explained in an interview for the Science podcast.

Because the nucleobases themselves were the same as those of DNA and RNA, the resulting molecules were able to join with their natural counterparts.

The effect is similar to work recently published in Nature Chemistry, showing that another sugar-substituted DNA analogue could be made to pair up with DNA itself.

But the crucial point in creating a full "synthetic genetics" is a set of nucleic acids like DNA and RNA that can not only carry genetic information, but would also allow it to be changed and passed on - evolution and heredity.

That requires a set of helper molecules called polymerases, which, once DNA or RNA "unzip" and expose their genetic information, help create new DNA molecules from those instructions.

Dr Holliger and his colleagues have developed polymerases that efficiently transcribe the code of their synthetic DNA to natural DNA and then from that back to another synthetic DNA.

The process of evolution was encouraged in the lab; one of their DNA analogues was designed to cling to a particular protein or RNA target, those that failed to do so were washed away.

As successive copies of those that stuck were made, variations in the genetic code - and the resulting structure the molecules took on - led to ever more tightly attached XNAs.

"We've been able to show that both heredity - information storage and propagation - and evolution, which are really two hallmarks of life, can be reproduced and implemented in alternative polymers other than DNA and RNA," Dr Holliger explained.

"There is nothing 'Goldilocks' about DNA and RNA - there is no overwhelming functional imperative for genetic systems or biology to be based on these two nucleic acids."

In an accompanying article in Science, Gerald Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute wrote that "the work heralds the era of synthetic genetics, with implications for exobiology (life elsewhere in the Universe), biotechnology, and understanding of life itself".

But the work does not yet represent a full synthetic genetics platform, he pointed out. For that, a self-replicating system that does not require the DNA intermediary must be developed.

With that in hand, "construction of genetic systems based on alternative chemical platforms may ultimately lead to the synthesis of novel forms of life".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17769529

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:10 pm 
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We may have discovered the often spoken of "tree of life"... :smoke:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:04 am 
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Ancient virus DNA thrives in us

Traces of ancient viruses which infected our ancestors millions of years ago are more widespread in us than previously thought.


A study shows how extensively viruses from as far back as the dinosaur era still thrive in our genetic material.

It sheds light on the origins of a big proportion of our genetic material, much of which is still not understood.

The scientists investigated the genomes of 38 mammals including humans, mice, rats, elephants and dolphins.

The research was carried out at Oxford University, the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Centre in New York and the Rega Institute in Belgium.

It is reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

One of the viruses was found to have invaded the genome of a common ancestor around 100 million years ago with its remnants discovered in almost every mammal in the study.

Another infected an early primate with the result that it was found in apes, humans and other primates as well.

The work established that many of these viruses lost the ability to transfer from one cell to another.

Instead they evolved to stay within their host cell where they have profilerated very effectively - spending their entire life cycle within the cell.
Forced choice

The researchers found evidence of the viruses multiplying so extensively within mammals' genomes that they have been compared to an outbreak of disease.

The senior author of the study, Dr Robert Belshaw from Oxford University's Zoology Department, said: "This is the story of an epidemic within every animal's genome, a story which has been going on for 100 million years and which continues today.

"We suspect that these viruses are forced to make a choice: either to keep their 'viral' essence and spread between animals and species. Or to commit to one genome and then spread massively within it."

The study shows that the viruses involved have lost a gene called env which is responsible for transmission between cells.

Known as endogenous retroviruses, these micro-organisms have gone on to become 30 times more abundant in their host cells.

The study is one of many attempting to understand the full complexity of the human genome.

Astonishingly, only 1.5% of the genetic material in our cells codes for human life. Half of the rest is sometimes described as "junk DNA" with no known function, and the other half consist of genes introduced by viruses and other parasites.
Positive services

According to the lead author, Dr Gkikas Magiorkinis, "much of the dark matter in our genome plays by its own rules, in the same way as an epidemic of an infectious disease but operating over millions of years.

"Learning the rules of this ancient game will help us understand their role in health and disease."

This raises the extraordinary scenario of our DNA serving as an environment in which viruses can evolve - a micro-ecology within the double-helix of our genetic material.

There is evidence that they can provide positive services. For example the protein syncytin - derived from a virus - helps develop the placenta.

Dr Belshaw says that endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are not known to have any obvious or direct health effects.

"But there could be effects we're not picking up on or things we could even take advantage of if we detect ERVs moving around or expressing proteins as a result of cancer or infection."

The study was supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society.

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A history of exposure to infection has marked our genomes

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:14 am 
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Detailed map of genome function

Scientists have published the most detailed analysis to date of the human genome.


They've discovered a far larger chunk of our genetic code is biologically active than previously thought.

The researchers hope the findings will lead to a deeper understanding of numerous diseases, which could lead to better treatments.

More than 400 scientists in 32 laboratories in the UK, US, Spain, Singapore and Japan were involved.

Their findings are published in 30 connected open-access papers appearing in three journals, Nature, Genome Biology and Genome Research.

The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (Encode) was launched in 2003 with the goal of identifying all the functional elements within the human genome.

A pilot project looking at 1% of the genome was published in 2007.

Now the Encode project has analysed all three billion pairs of genetic code that make up our DNA.

They have found 80% of our genome is performing a specific function.

Up to now, most attention has been focused on protein-coding genes, which make up just 2% of the genome.
Junk DNA

Genes are small sections of DNA that contain instructions for which chemicals - proteins - they should produce.

The Encode team analysed the vast area of the genome sometimes called "junk DNA" because it seemed to have little function and was poorly understood.

Dr Ewan Birney, of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, who led the analysis, told me: "The term junk DNA must now be junked.

"It's clear from this research that a far bigger part of the genome is biologically active than was previously thought."
Switches

The scientists also identified four million gene "switches". These are sections of DNA that control when genes are switched on or off in cells.

They said the switches were often a long way along the genome from the gene they controlled.

Dr Birney said: "This will help in our understanding of human biology. Many of the switches we have identified are linked to changes in risk for conditions from heart disease to diabetes or mental illness. This will give researchers a whole new world to explore and ultimately, it's hoped, will lead to new treatments."

Scientists acknowledge that it is likely to be many years before patients see tangible benefits from the project.

But another of the Encode team, Dr Ian Dunham said the data could ultimately be of help in every area of disease research.

"Encode gives us a set of very valuable leads to follow to discover key mechanisms at play in health and disease. Those can be exploited to create entirely new medicines, or to repurpose existing treatments."

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute director Prof Mike Stratton said the results were "remarkable" and would "stand as a foundation stone for human biology for many years".

He added: "The Encode project will change the way many researchers conduct their science and give those who seek to understand disease a much better grasp of where genetic variation can affect our genome for ill."

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19202141

...Next chapter: your whole DNA sequence for less than U$ 100 in 15 minutes. Near in a lab, a hospital (or health insurance agency, or employer or brain police) near you...

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:19 am 
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Look here brother, who you jiving with that genetik debris?

Some DNA ancestry services akin to 'genetic astrology'

By Pallab Ghosh

Scientists have described some services provided by companies tracing ancestry using DNA as akin to astrology.


Some test findings tell people that they have links to groups such as Vikings, to particular migrations of people and sometimes to famous figures such as Napoleon or Cleopatra

But researchers working with a campaign group say DNA tests cannot provide accurate information about ancestry.

Ancestry companies insist they are able to provide a valuable service.

An increasing number of companies are offering to profile the genetic history of individuals based on a DNA sample for around £200.

But in a public guide, published by Sense About Science, Prof David Balding and Prof Mark Thomas of University College London warn that such histories are either so general as to be "personally meaningless or they are just speculation from thin evidence".

The scientists say that genetic profiles cannot provide accurate information about an individual's ancestry.

They say "the genetic ancestry business uses a phenomenon well-known in other areas such as horoscopes, where general information is interpreted as being more personal than it really is".

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Some customers want to find Viking ancestry, but almost every Briton has some, say researchers

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http://www.senseaboutscience.org/resources.php/119/sense-about-genetic-ancestry-testing

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:56 pm 
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DNA clears North Carolina inmates after 30 years in prison

Half-brothers released after newly discovered evidence clears men in 1983 rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie


North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate and his half-brother serving a life sentence have been exonerated and released from prison after spending more than 30 years behind bars for a rape and murder they did not commit.

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Robeson County superior court acted with lightning speed to free the two men, Leon Brown and Henry McCollum, who were 15 and 19 at the time of their arrest in 1983. It was testimony to the overwhelming strength of the evidence that was presented to the court that judge Douglas Sasser cleared them of the murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie on the first day of a hearing to consider new DNA evidence in the case.

The evidence absolved McCollum and Brown, now 46 and 50, of any link to biological material collected at the crime scene. It also found a positive match with a known sex offender from the same small town who was living just feet away from the field in which Buie’s body was found.

McCollum was held on death row throughout his three decades in prison as an innocent man. His lawyer, Ken Rose of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, who has fought the case for the past 20 years, pointed out that both his client and Brown are diagnosed as having intellectual disabilities.

“It’s terrifying that our justice system allowed two intellectually disabled children to go to prison for a crime they had nothing to do with, and then to suffer there for 30 years. Henry watched dozens of people be hauled away for execution. He would become so distraught he had to be put in isolation. It’s impossible to put into words what these men have been through and how much they have lost.”

Co-counsel for Brown, Ann Kirby, said: “This case is a tragedy which has profoundly affected not only the lives of the people involved, but which profoundly affects our system of justice in North Carolina. This case highlights in a most dramatic manner the importance of finding the truth. Today truth has prevailed, but it comes 30 years too late for Sabrina Buie and her family, and for Leon, Henry, and their families. Their sadness, grief, and loss will remain with them forever.”

The dramatic release of the two prisoners now puts the spotlight on the police department in Red Springs, a small town in the south of the state of just 3,000 people. In court documents filed by lawyers for McCollum and Brown the police department is accused of having framed false confessions for the duo which they made the arrested teenagers sign after hours of interrogations.

The town’s police force is also accused of having hidden boxes of crucial evidence in its office from the time of the boys’ trial in 1984 right up to last month. The existence of the evidence, gathered at the crime scene, was never disclosed either to the boys’ defence teams or to the district attorney prosecuting the case.

The current district attorney for Robeson County, Johnson Britt, agreed on Tuesday that the two men are innocent and consented to their unconditional release. No further charges will be brought against them.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/02/north-carolina-death-row-30-years-exonerated-dna

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