2012-09-05. Bits of Mystery DNA, Far From 'Junk,' Play Crucial Role to Health

posted Sep 7, 2012, 4:36 PM by Lisa Ou
| by Gina Kolata, The NY Times. An article relevant to GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 4. Excerpt: Among the many mysteries of human biology is why complex diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and psychiatric disorders are so difficult to predict and, often, to treat. An equally perplexing puzzle is why one individual gets a disease like cancer or depression, while an identical twin remains perfectly healthy. Now scientists have discovered a vital clue to unraveling these riddles. The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches…. Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/science/far-from-junk-dna-dark-matter-proves-crucial-to-health.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120906