Probably in a short period of time, in relation to life on Earth:
Researchers from Case Western Reserve University have identified a new mechanism by which a protein known for repairing damaged DNA also protects the integrity of DNA by preserving its structural shape.
The discovery, involving the protein 53BP1, offers insight into understanding how cells maintain the integrity of DNA in the nucleus, which is critical for preventing diseases like premature aging and cancer…
53BP1 is a large protein known for determining how cells will repair a particular type of DNA damage—DNA double-strand break (DSB), in which the two strands of DNA are both broken, leaving a free DNA end floating around in the cell’s nucleus.
When DSB occurs, if not repaired, DNA ends could fuse to what it should not under normal conditions, which leads to the disruption of genetic information. In the short term, cells with unrepaired DNA may kill themselves off; but if a cell lost this self-surveillance, it may start the journey toward cancer.
In this study, the team discovered 53BP1 has a biological function in mediating the structure of DNA, specifically at a highly compacted region called heterochromatin.
The researchers found that this new function involves a new form of activity of 53BP1, in which the protein accumulates at the condensed DNA regions and forms small liquid droplets—a process called liquid-liquid phase separation, similar to mixing oil with water for salad dressing.Case Western Reserve University, “Case Western Reserve University research team identifies new mechanism for protecting DNA” at The Daily (January 18, 2022)
Darwinism was easier back when cells were just blobs of protoplasm.
The paper is open access.