Scientists have discovered a genetic clock that can unlock life’s evolutionary history.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published their findings in the journal Nature.
“The clock is the key to unlocking the secrets of evolution,” says lead author and Harvard professor of biomedical engineering Andrew Bostrom, “It’s one of the most significant discoveries of our generation.”
Bostrom and his colleagues identified a gene that, when mutated in a laboratory mouse, produces an enzyme that can be used to turn protein molecules into RNA.RNA, the building blocks of DNA, is the building block of life.RNA can be converted into DNA by enzymes called RNAases, which make RNA molecules.
Bostom says that the mutation in the gene that produces the enzyme can also turn the protein into RNA molecules, which can then be used in a chemical process called RNA synthesis.
The resulting RNA molecules can then act as living cells.
In this study, Bostram and his team used mice to make a type of protein called a microRNA that could bind to RNA molecules and make them turn into RNAs.
RNA is a protein that can replicate itself in the lab and is the basis for life.
MicroRNAs can bind to other molecules, and when the RNA molecules bind to another molecule, the RNA can turn into the same molecule, producing a living cell.
This discovery could open the door to the creation of living cells from scratch, Boodoms team says.”RNA and RNAase are the two fundamental steps in life’s replication process, and we’ve found that they are linked to the genetic clock,” he says.
“MicroRNAs are the most important genetic clock in the universe, and it’s a very important step to understand how life works.”
This research opens up the possibility that if we can control the activity of the microRNAs, we could turn RNA into RNA and turn RNA back into RNA.
“A microRNA is a small molecule that, like a protein, can be manufactured from the nucleotide base, which is located on the inside of the molecule.RNA is produced in the nucleus of the cell.
It is produced by two processes: when RNA is synthesized, the enzyme that makes RNA produces a protein called an RNA polymerase, which in turn produces RNA, and then, once synthesized and released, the microRNA turns into a living cellular nucleus called a nucleus.
In the lab, microRNAS can bind directly to RNA, or they can bind with other RNA molecules in the cell and turn them into RNA, which the microRAs then bind to.
Boodams team found that microRNas bind to the protein that makes the enzyme responsible for turning RNA into RNAs, which turns it into RNA itself.
Bostom and his co-authors found that the gene responsible for making microRNPs is the same gene that causes mutations in mouse and human DNA.
When they genetically manipulated mice, the mice produced microRNIs that turned into RNA that were different from those produced in their wild littermates.
Boeser says that this is one of a number of genes that could be used as molecular clock to unlock evolutionary history, because they are highly conserved in mammals.”
Our study is an important step toward unraveling the genome and unlocking the past,” Boodamas co-author says.
Boodoms lab is led by David C. Dolan, a postdoctoral fellow in Bostoms lab.