Paper. (paywall)Our genome is made up of 6,000 million pieces of DNA that combine four “flavors”: A, C, G and T (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine). It is our Alphabet. But to this base we must add some regulation, just like the spelling and grammar of that alphabet: this is what we call Epigenetics.
“In epigenetics, there there are “accents,” called DNA methylation, which means having a C or a methyl-C. The first one usually means that a gene is expressed and active, while the second one implies that a gene is silent and inactive. Our DNA “speaks” when it produces another molecule called RNA (Ribonucleic Acid). Until very recently, it was believed that this molecule was only a poorly regulated intermediate capable of producing proteins (such as insulin, hemoglobin and others) under DNA’s orders. “Today, an article published in Cancer Discovery by Manel Esteller, Director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program of Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ICREA Researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona, explains that this RNA also has its own spelling and grammar, just like DNA. These “epigenetics of RNA” are called epitranscriptome.” – Manel Esteller, Pier Paolo Pandolfi. The Epitranscriptome of Noncoding RNAs in Cancer. Cancer Discovery, 2017; DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-16-1292More.
So not only does DNA have spelling and grammar but so does RNA, as a sort of cognate language, instead of being “a poorly regulated intermediate capable of producing proteins.”
File under: Why the sea is boiling hot.
See also: Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!
Follow UD News at Twitter!