Scientists discover second DNA code

There appears to be more to DNA than previously believed. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christoph Bock The breakthrough was made as part of a project funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute. It has long been believed that DNA is responsible for telling the cells how to make proteins, but thanks to an international collaboration of research groups scientists now believe they have identified a second DNA code, one that instructs cells on how genes are controlled.”For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made,” said John Stamatoyannopoulos who is lead author of the study. “Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture.”The find is important because it implies that changes in DNA that occur due to illness or age may be having more of an effect that previously believed.”Many DNA changes that appear to alter protein sequences may actually cause disease by disrupting gene control programs or even both mechanisms simultaneously,” said Prof Stamatoyannopoulos.