Cell biology Genomics Intelligent Design

Confounding scientists for decades, RNA switches “on” and “off”

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Unlike anything we know in the real world, all this complex machinery that confounds us just somehow, rather quickly, fell into place:

Similar to a light switch, RNA switches (called riboswitches) determine which genes turn “on” and “off.” Although this may seem like a simple process, the inner workings of these switches have confounded biologists for decades.

Now researchers led by Northwestern University and the University at Albany discovered one part of RNA smoothly invades and displaces another part of the same RNA, enabling the structure to rapidly and dramatically change shape. Called “strand displacement,” this mechanism appears to switch genetic expression from “on” to “off.”

Amanda Morris, “Unprecedented videos show RNA switching ‘on’ and ‘off’” at Northwestern Now (March 28, 2022)

The paper is open access.

You may also wish to read: Forthcoming book: “RNA is the cornerstone of cell biology” Remember the people who used to say, of their DNA, “This is me”? Didn’t wear well, that.

3 Replies to “Confounding scientists for decades, RNA switches “on” and “off”

  1. 1
    martin_r says:

    i had a look at the original paper, let me quote this one:

    RNA strands invade, displace one another to enable genetic decision making

    to enable decision making ???

    I thought that ‘natural selection’ had the exclusive rights to make any decisions about what is good and what is not …
    Now this …

    It is not easy to be a Darwinist …

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    One sentence in the article is stated flatly, not emphasized, but way beyond astonishing:

    “RNA folds and unfolds 10 quadrillion times per second in your body.”

    Assuming about 1 trillion cells, each cell is doing this trick about 10 thousand times per second.

    Our best sewing machines can tie a knot about 50 times per second, but those are repetitive knots without any ‘programming’. The RNA has a specific purpose for each of its moves.

  3. 3
    PaV says:

    I’ve been in the hospital. Couldn’t post this sooner.

    In the “you could see it coming” department is this post from last June.

    DNA is a data storage system. Proof of this is that scientists are now moving in the direction of storing immense amounts of data using DNA templates. So, then, what is the role of RNA? Well, it is to direct the activity of the cell while interfacing with the cell’s data storage system. I’m stunned, but excited, that an entire book is being written on this. As the title of my post suggests, the “central dogma” is just about dead; as is Darwinism. What is left? Intelligent design.

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