Re: [GRG] NrwAbs: Junk DNA Is Valuable

On 14-07-24 07:30 PM, L. Stephen Coles
M.D. Ph.D. wrote:

To Members and Friends of the Los Angeles
Research Group: 
      80% of “junk” DNA is valuable…
—  Steve Coles

I never bought into the “junk” DNA scientific
arrogance. My bet now is that closer to 100% is valuable – or it
would not be there. –Paul Wakfer

“Junk DNA Not as Worthless
as Once

 After finding evidence of the precise
regulation of
the production of non-coding RNA, researchers in Germany aim to
test the
influence that environmental pollutants have on the appearance
non-coding RNA’s in immune cells. Image: Alexander Raths

Thursday, July 24, 2014; (R&D) -Around
75 percent
of the supposed functionless DNA in the human genome is
transcribed into
so-called non-coding RNA’s (ribonucleic acid). To date, little
is known
about its function. Together with colleagues from the Fraunhofer
for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) and Leipzig
University, researchers from the Helmholtz Center for
Research (UFZ) have now been able to demonstrate that the
of non-coding RNA’s is precisely regulated. They suspect that
RNA’s might play a role in regulating cellular processes or in
modified immune response following
to environmental toxicants.
    Around two percent of the human genome acts as a
blueprint for proteins, which work as molecular machines
important functions in the cells of our bodies. The rest of the
genome ­-
still 98 percent -­ is more or less a blank page. The areas
which do not
code for proteins are also referred to as “junk DNA.” But are
they really nothing but a redundant burden? “This is one of the
questions currently hanging over genome research,” says Dr. Jörg
Hackermüller, Bioinformatician at the Helmholtz Center for
Research (UFZ). “They continue to represent vast blank spots on
genomic map -­ there is still a lot waiting to be discovered
    As early as 2007, in a study published in the
scientific magazine Nature, Hackermüller, together with
a number
of colleagues, was able to demonstrate that not only two percent
of the
genome is transcribed into RNA -­ a template which normally
serves the
production of proteins -­ but practically the entire genome,
even those
areas which are completely neglected when looking at blueprints
proteins. Hackermüller: “This finding gave rise to a lively
discussion as to whether this could be caused by chance events
mistakes in the regulation of cellular processes. However, I
doubt that
nature is so wasteful with resources that it would produce such
masses of
RNA for no specific reason.”
     In their latest study published in the
specialist magazine “Genome Biology,” Hackermüller and
his team, in cooperation with Profs. Friedemann Horn and Peter
F. Stadler
from Leipzig University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell
Therapy and
Immunology IZI, were able to bridge yet another knowledge gap.
transcription of non-coding regions in the genome is precisely
by cellular signaling pathways -­ and on a grand scale: up
to 80
percent of the RNA copies were non-coding. “We did not
such a magnitude,” says Hackermüller. “This is not indicative
of a chance product -­ it is highly likely that the non-coding
perform similarly important functions in comparison with that of
protein-coding RNA’s.”
    Furthermore, the researchers have discovered a new
species of non-coding RNA, so-called macroRNA. It is
[50 –
200]x the size of regular, protein-coding RNA. “What is
remarkable is that parts of these macroRNA’s are conserved
mammals as well as birds and reptiles,” says Horn.
“Furthermore, in aggressive types of brain tumors, several
macroRNA’s are produced much more actively than in tumors with a
prognosis. This is further evidence that non-coding macroRNA’s
play an
important role in cellular processes.”
    Hackermüller suspects that non-coding RNA’s have an
important function at the epigenetic level, for example
as a type
of cellular long-term memory: “This could also explain why the
health effects caused by exposure to hazardous environmental
often do not emerge until years later.” In future
Hackermüller and his team therefore want to test the influence
environmental pollutants have on the appearance of non-coding
RNA’s in
immune cells.Cell cycle,
and tumor suppressor pathways regulate numerous long and macro
non-protein coding RNAsSource: Helmholtz
Centre for Environmental Research


D Daily

Environmental Research



Genomics & Proteomics

L. Stephen Coles, M.D., Ph.D., Cofounder
Los Angeles Gerontology Research GroupE-mail: scoles@grg.orgE-mail:


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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