Dark Matter Not Just For Space, For Genomes Too
Nick Gilbert
at 08:42 AM 14 Oct 2020
Comments 0
There is a lot more dark matter in your DNA than coding proteins
There is a lot more dark matter in your DNA than coding proteins
IMAGE BY Christian Guthie (net_efekt) on Flickr, Creative Commons
Health // 

A new study into mammalian genomes has found and documented large amounts of what has been referred to as the 'dark matter' of genetics responsible in large part for the way that the functions of genes themselves are regulated.

This dark matter is a simple term to describe large amounts of data there in your body that are not a component of your genes per se. Instead, this data helps regulate the way that your genes manifest and function.

The study, led by MIT and Harvard Universities' Broad Institute, examined the genetic material of 29 mammals, and compared these sequences of dark matter, trying to find similarities across the species.

“This new map reveals almost 3 million previously undetectable elements in non-coding regions that have been carefully preserved across all mammals, and whose disruptions appear to be associated with human disease,” said co-author Manolis Kellis from MIT, in a press release.

Aside from the simple awesome factor of finding something new to have a look at in the genome, the team also think that because of the way this dark matter plays into genetic regulation, it may well help in finding out what causes the kinds of genetic disruption that results in disease in humans.

It also provides an interesting insight into the beginnings of the human race, showing the parts of the genome that are largely similar to other mammals, but also some 1,000 dark matter regions that have changed more recently, and are particular to the human and primate genome.

The finds have been published in the journal Nature.


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