Physicists Confirm Second 'Layer' of Information in DNA -- What Does It Do?

Mar 27, 2017 09:49 AM EDT

Theoretical physicists have unveiled that DNA has a second layer of information and is "folded" as well.

Physicist Helmut Schiessel and his colleagues simulated DNA strands folding onto itself with random "cues." They used genomes of baker's yeast and fission yeast to determine whether or not there is a relationship between how each kind of yeast "folds" its DNA. Interested readers can read their study in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

The Leiden University, Netherlands team confirmed that the way DNA folds has in fact a certain effect on how DNA executes its "codes." Their research concludes that genetic mutations aren't just caused by the change in code sequences. In fact, it's also dependent on how the strands are folded themselves.

For a brief rundown, Futurism explains that DNA is actually "stored" in the form of a sequence of codes that are made up of nitrogen bases. Each cell we have has the same sequence of codes, but they have different functions. Code sequences dictate the kind of protein that certain cells produce, which then creates everything in a living body. Nucleosomes are bundles of DNA strands that are grouped together, as each cell actually has two meters of DNA. However, it appears there's something else that is happening.

This mystery is something biologists have been trying to isolate for a while in order to see if there's a difference in how DNA is actually folded.

This new discovery will hopefully help doctors and people in the medical field determine if a specific type of DNA "fold" actually lead to sequences that generate diseases.

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