Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zombie DNA linked to muscular dystrophy | The Cavalier Daily

The Cavalier Daily

By Aradhya Nigam on August 25, 2010

Out of the entire human genome, only 2 percent is known to code for functional genes. The remaining 98 percent — known as “junk DNA.” — has generally been thought to be unused by the body. A study recently published in “Science,” however, has shown that certain sequences of junk DNA may have the ability to come back to life. This movie-like “Zombie DNA” has severe — and, perhaps, frightening — implications, as researchers have discovered a particular set of junk DNA that, once active, causes facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, or FSHD, an inherited disease that causes weakening of the muscles of the face and shoulder. The study pinpointed a repeating set of “zombie DNA,” with a certain mutation causing it to become activated. Researchers are now looking for different treatments to avoid activating the set of DNA, thwarting cases of FSHD. Researchers are keen to continue “zombie” DNA research, as its success with explaining FSHD will hopefully help find treatments to other diseases as well.

—compiled by Aradhya Nigam

It is amazing that a form of muscular dystrophy rarely heard about & more rarely written about has been front page news around the world and on the net for the past week. Hopefully this notice will help us raise the monies needed to move this research to the much needed treatment. Friends of FSH Research is proud to have played a small role in this scientific breakthrough, funding Stephen Tapscott and other FSH scientists in the Seattle area since 2005.

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