A recent study revealed a mysterious DNA structure that may explain how the genetic information gets preserved inside the human genome.
In the early times, the RNA was at the basis of life as we know it. The scientists believe that the ancient world represented by RNA was the starting point for what life now is.
However, the DNA replaced the essential role that was once fulfilled by the RNA, becoming the main code of genetic information.
The scientists that researched the issue discovered a feature present in the DNA structure which is absent from the RNA. The leading biochemist of the study found that DNA is movable in a unique way. The dynamic structure of the DNA makes the sequence of code more efficient.
The secret lays in the Hoogsteen base pair, a mysterious DNA structure which was first spotted in the 1960s. The scientists are still trying to figure out what its structure would be, and the sequence was seen on very rare occasions.
The authors of the recently published study managed to explore the DNA molecules in a nuclear magnetic resonance monitor. The researchers managed to observe the nucleic base pairs and noticed they take the shape of a spiral case shifting between two forms.
That specific spiral case has components that are connected in the very way the ‘60s researchers found. However, the components created the mysterious DNA structure at any given time. A nucleic acid is being flipped at 180 degrees, while the entire structure in double helix form bends.
Half of the staircase works like an errant nail, and the Hoogsteen base pair can help repair the damage when a part of the structure is destroyed.
The researchers then turned to the RNA, wondering if its structure would mimic the movements of the DNA as it has the same helix form.
Adding a methyl group to a strand of RNA created a powerful explosion that caused the helix to unravel. There was no possibility to fix it, and the structure did not respond well to the reaction as it completely dispersed.
The conclusion was that the RNA could not create the Hoogsteen base pair and repair itself. Shifts in the nucleic acid structure created permanent damage.
The researchers say that the RNA could not possibly survive the attack of chemicals that the DNA has to endure. The human genome evolved into DNA structures especially because they are able to absorb the damage and to repair themselves.
While the research can still be thought to be speculative, the current hypothesis may still be valid and may help future studies on the mysterious DNA structure.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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