Gene therapy using ‘junk DNA’ could lower risk for heart disease
Scientists from UCLA and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute successfully used a gene that suppresses cholesterol levels as part of a treatment to reduce plaque in mice with a disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia. In a preclinical study, researchers found that the gene, LeXis, lowered cholesterol and blockages in the arteries, and the treatment appeared to reduce the build-up of fat in liver cells.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition characterized by extremely high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol”) and an increased risk of early heart disease.
The LeXis gene belongs to a unique group of genes that until recently were considered “junk DNA” because scientists believed they served little purpose. However, evidence from the human genome project led to the discovery that genes like LeXis are actually active. The study of these genes, now referred to as long noncoding ribonucleic acids, or lncRNAs, is a rapidly evolving area in biology. Paper.(paywall) – Peter Tontonoz, Xiaohui Wu, Marius Jones, Zhengyi Zhang, David Salisbury, Tamer Sallam. Long Noncoding RNA Facilitated Gene Therapy Reduces Atherosclerosis in a Murine Model of Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Circulation, 2017; 136 (8): 776 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.029002 More.
Molecular evolutionist Dan Graur announced in 2013, if ENCODE is right [not much junk in our DNA] then evolution is wrong.
The UD News coffee room has come up with a tiebreaker: Encode is okay. Evolution is okay. Dan Graur is wrong-(headed).
See also: Nothing makes sense in evolution except in the light of junk DNA?
Junk DNA: Dan Graur (junk!), ENCODE team (not junk!), and the science media
Function of circular RNA in animals discovered
“Junk” RNA helps regulate metabolism
Junk DNA defender just isn’t doing politeness any more.
Anyone remember ENCODE? Not much junk DNA? Still not much. (Paper is open access.)
Yes, Darwin’s followers did use junk DNA as an argument for their position.
Another response to Darwin’s followers’ attack on the “not-much-junk-DNA” ENCODE findings