Scientists suspect that DNA mutations are random after studying a simple and small plant


13 ene 2022 17:07 GMT

The new study suggests that the findings could help grow better crops and fight diseases such as cancer.

The tiny grass growing on the roadside has allowed an international team of scientists to question the evolutionary theory that mutations in DNA when it is damaged and not repaired are random.

Speaking study, researchers from the University of California, Davis (USA) and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology (Germany), spent three years analyzing the DNA of “Arabidopsis thaliana,” or young cress, a small plant with flowers. “A model organism for genetics” to possess a relatively small genome.

“We always thought the mutation was essentially random throughout the genome,” he explained Wednesday in a Release Gray Munro, associate professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis and lead author of the paper. “It turns out that the mutation is not very random and not random in a way that benefits the plant. It’s a whole new way to think about mutations“.

How did they conduct the experiment?

To conduct the research, hundreds of plants were grown in a sheltered lab, so that specimens with defects could also survive. After analyzing the genome, the scientists identified More than a million mutations This, contrary to expectations, Not randomly distributed.

“At first glance, what we found seems to contradict the well-established theory that initial mutations are completely random and that only natural selection determines which mutations are observed in organisms,” said Detlev Weigl, scientific director of the Max Planck Institute and lead author. studying.

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The researchers explained that they discovered genomic patches with low mutation rates that contain “over-representations of essential genes, such as those involved in cell growth and gene expression”. According to Monroe, these are “really important regions of the genome” because they are “more protected from mutations.”

The experiment also revealed that by looking at how DNA is surrounded by different types of proteins, it is easier to guess whether or not a gene will evolve. “This means we can pridect Which genes are more likely to mutate than others and give us a good idea of ​​what’s going on.”

“The plant has developed a way to protect its most important sites from mutations,” Weigel said. “This is exciting because we can even use these discoveries to think about how to protect human genes from mutations.” In addition, the report highlighted that the findings can help develop Better crops and fight diseases like cancer.

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