Diabetes linked to ‘junk’ DNA previously thought to have no function

diabetes
PantherMedia 906049

[A]mong the thousands of genes which code for vital proteins, hidden in plain sight are much vaster chunks of non-coding junk DNA, previously thought to have no function…[A]n international team led by scientists at Imperial has found that some of this junk DNA has an important regulatory function in the pancreas.

The findings…reveal that specific non-protein coding regions regulate key genes in beta cells – the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas which help to balance blood sugar in the body.

One junk region in particular, called PLUTO (PDX1 Locus Upstream Transcript), was found next door to an important controlling gene (or transcription factor) called PDX1, which helps beta cells to mature and produce insulin.

“PDX1 is essential to countering the body’s growing resistance to insulin, so these genes are really important in terms of human diabetes – both inherited and acquired,” said Professor Jorge Ferrer, Head of Epigenetics and Disease at the Department of Medicine at Imperial.

The findings add weight to the idea that some of these lesser known regions of the genome, previously labelled as ‘junk‘, are in fact functional and could even play a role in the development of the condition.

[The study can be found here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: ‘Junk DNA’ could play an important role in diabetes

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend