CRISPR / Cas9 complex of Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. The Cas9 protein (cyan) uses an RNA guide (magenta) to locate the attack site of foreign DNA (green). Authors: Alexey Torgashev, Ivan Shunin / Molekuul.be/Shutterstock
We will soon stop being surprised. The world is changing rapidly and there is only one way – to observe drinking kombucha for our microbiota (on which our happiness depends) – for the next breakthrough in science.This summer they completely decoded the genome. “Yes, they deciphered it long ago,” you say. But no. When the Human Genome Project and biotechnology firm Celera Genomics announced the sequencing of the human genome two decades ago, the sequence was not entirely complete. About 15% were absent. More than 200 million base pairs have now been added to the reference genome.
Our code is 3.05 billion base pairs long (we are 3 billion base pairs). Most of the new genes are disabled as a result of mutations, but 115 are very active, but it will also take time to figure out their function. “Show me your genome” is what horny guys will soon whisper under the moon to their futuristic girlfriends.
But back to reality – what does this mean for humanity besides knowledge about lactose intolerance? Even with the help of ordinary broccoli, it is possible to change the information transmitted by DNA to the ether of the cell, not to mention genetic reprogramming. They say that the first person to cross the line at 120 years old and live for 150 years has already been born. They also say that we can live forever.
Not only mice, real heroes of science, and not only dogs, our best friends, but … cats will help us in this. Geneticists argue that the genes of the domestic cat are almost identical to the size of the human gene, and the levels of organization of the human and feline genomes have many similarities.
Cats, previously idly wandering, are now a potential model organism for research on the genetic dark matter of mammals. Dark matter makes up 95% of human DNA, but for a long time it was considered only a filler of information.
So far, scientists have discovered a number of feline genetic diseases associated with dysfunctions in genetic dark matter. For example, some cat breeds have a genetic predisposition to the development of polycystic kidney disease, which also affects humans. In general, it’s time to work, purring loafers, otherwise you are walking on your own.
In continuation of the story with genes, summer brought a real breakthrough – genetic engineering has stepped from the lab into practice, and there are the first cured ones. Used CRISPR therapy (cut out a bad gene, inserted a good one – similar to a film montage) to restore vision for macular degeneration, sickle cell anemia, transthyretin amyloidosis and cystic fibrosis.
To date, researchers at Intellia Therapeutics and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have demonstrated a CRISPR system embedded in the bloodstream that can travel to the desired tissue to make changes. By the way, while we were on vacation.
And Talus Bio intends to treat oncological diseases by modifying regulatory proteins by removing them from DNA, which will effectively disable the function of disease-causing genes. Regulatory proteins that turn genes on / off are some of the most important drug targets.
And hydrogen peroxide can not only dye your hair and treat scratches. A study by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, showed that low levels of hydrogen peroxide can stimulate the Tsa1 enzyme, which slows down the aging process in yeast cells. Tsa1 does require a certain amount of hydrogen peroxide to slow down the aging process and stimulate the stress protection of yeast cells.
Another highlight is the successful installation of Cormat’s Aeson artificial heart this winter, which kicked off sales in July. Now we can be especially romantic – we have not only antibiotics for sexually transmitted diseases, but also a spare heart in case someone breaks it.
Seriously, about 200 people die every day without waiting for a donor organ, and now it is their opportunity to live. After all, life is undoubtedly wonderful. And another excellent pacemaker, which is charged from the kinetic energy of the heart itself, developed in Shanghai, is a great confirmation of this.
And finally, according to a new study in neurodegenerative diseases, daily mental stimulation can reduce the level of proteins that make it difficult to form new connections in the brain.
So, for example, people who are engaged in mentally stimulating work have a significantly lower risk of developing dementia in old age than those who are associated with an activity without mental stimulation.
That’s what a hot summer it was.