martes, 27 de abril de 2010

The Search for Genes

Sometimes genes can come from the most unexpected places. For instance, researchers at the University of Texas are now combatting tumor growth via blood vessel genes not from humans, but from yeast. In yeast, a particular group of five genes works on the task of creating cell walls. However, these genes are applicable beyond their normal function. Learning how to shut these genes down has also been shown to stunt blood vessel growth in humans, and thus tumor growth. This is not the first unique link that scientists have found relating certain functions of different species. For instance, genes associated with deafness have been found in plants, and genes associated with breast cancer have been found in worms.

These connections all come from an evolutionary idea called ¨homology,¨ or the idea that all forms of life share a common ancestor. As species have mutated over time, patches of genes have hung around and adapted their function in the organism. An obvious example of this would be the similarities between a bat´s wing and the human hand. However, less obvious examples like identical series of genes also comes from the same idea. Scientists can use these similarities in genes to work towards better understanding humans´genes by distantly related ancestors. Many, like drugs against tumors, have many real applications.

Zach Ming

a link to the full article

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