"If you thought we had explored all the important parts of our genome, think again."
"The segments, dubbed 'ultraconserved elements', lie in the large parts of the genome that do not code for any protein. Their presence adds to growing evidence that the importance of these areas, often dismissed as junk DNA, could be much more fundamental than anyone suspected."
BioIT World LabCorp Licenses Junk DNA Patent
"Genetic Technologies (GTG), the Australian biotech company at the heart of a controversy surrounding its patents on the genetic mapping applications of noncoding (junk) DNA, has added another large company to its tally of licensees -- Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp)."
"Last year, GTG granted licenses to Sequenom, Perlegen Sciences, Myriad Genetics, and Pyrosequencing, among others."redux [11.18.03]
The Age Biotech wins battle for junk justice
"Investors piled into Genetic Technologies yesterday after the biotech company announced that two US groups it was suing for patent infringement had settled out of court."
"The Melbourne-based Genetic Technologies has consistently warned it would sue any company, research institution or university that infringed its patent over the so-called junk DNA."redux [08.18.03]
Bio-IT World Guardians of the Genome
"An Australian biotech company, Genetic Technologies Ltd. (GTG), is stirring up controversy over its decision to enforce a series of patents, granted in the 1990s by the US Patent and Trademark Office, over the genetic diagnostic and mapping applications of non-coding, or junk, DNA."
"Scientists, including NHGRI chief Francis Collins and Sir John Sulston, are also upset over GTG's recent decision to ask academic institutions to sign research licenses."redux [05.19.03]
The Scientist The Dark Side of the Genome
[requires 'free' registration]
The dark side of the moon is a misnomer. Light reaches la luna's entire surface, but one half is unviewable from Earth. The human genome, the now essentially decoded map of life, likewise has a light side--the genes encoding mRNA and protein--and a dark side, which is coming into view for the first time. The dark side encompasses more than its opposite: The majority of the genome comprises intronic regions, stretches of repeat sequence, and other assorted gibberish that has attained the ignoble dubbing, "junk."
The first exploratory missions to the human genome's faceted surface are turning up traces regarding the extent of the junk."redux [11.21.02]
SFGate Junk DNA Revisited
"In a provisional patent application filed July 31, Pellionisz claims to have unlocked a key to the hidden role junk DNA plays in growth -- and in life itself.
Rather than being useless evolutionary debris, he says, the mysteriously repetitive but not identical strands of genetic material are in reality building instructions organized in a special type of pattern known as a fractal. It's this pattern of fractal instructions, he says, that tells genes what they must do in order to form living tissue, everything from the wings of a fly to the entire body of a full-grown human."redux [08.28.02]
EurekAlert Essential cell division 'zipper' anchors to so-called junk DNA
"In a new study in the August 29 issue of Nature, researchers at The Wistar Institute identify a cohesin-containing protein complex that reshapes chromatin to allow cohesins to bind to DNA. In doing so, they also identified the locations on the human genome where the cohesins bind. Somewhat to their surprise, the binding sites were found to be a repetitive DNA sequence found throughout the human genome for which no previous role had ever been identified. These bits of DNA, known as Alu sequences, are liberally represented along those vast stretches of the human genome not known to directly control genetic activity, sometimes referred to as junk DNA."redux [08.09.02]
Science Daily Jumping Genes Can Knock Out DNA; Alter Human Genome
"Results of a new University of Michigan study suggest that junk DNA - dismissed by many scientists as mere strings of meaningless genetic code - could have a darker side.
In a paper published in the Aug. 9 issue of Cell, scientists from the U-M Medical School report that, in cultured human cancer cells, segments of junk DNA called LINE-1 elements can delete DNA when they jump to a new location - possibly knocking out genes or creating devastating mutations in the process."Science Daily Retroviruses Shows That Human-Specific Variety Developed When Humans, Chimps Diverged
"Scientists in the past decade have discovered that remnants of ancient germ line infections called human endogenous retroviruses make up a substantial part of the human genome. Once thought to be merely "junk" DNA and inactive, many of these elements, in fact, perform functions in human cells.
Now, a new study by John McDonald of the University of Georgia and King Jordan at the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Institutes of Health, suggests for the first time that a burst of transpositional activity occurred at the same time humans and chimps are believed to have diverged from a common ancestor - 6 million years ago."redux [01.20.01]
The New York Times Human Genome Project Director Peers Into the Future
[requires 'free' registration]
"Speaking at a National Institutes of Health conference on ethical and social issues in genetics, Dr. Francis Collins said that a "spate of papers in public journals'' due out within a month will signify the incredibly rapid pace of scientific discovery seen since the announcement of the nearly complete sequencing of the human genome last summer.
The first, Collins said, will be a paper that puts the total count of human genes at between 30,000 and 35,000. "That's less than half the number most people have been predicting.'' The second is a study ascribing previously unknown biological missions to genes scientists thought were inactive, or so-called "junk genes."
"There is now clear evidence that (the junk genes) have been performing a number of functions for tens or hundreds of thousands of years,'' he said."
“Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.”BIOINFORMATICS IN THE 21st CENTURY
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