Thursday, March 24, 2005

Turning genetics on its head?

"Scientists shake 150-year law of genetics"
Challenging a scientific law of inheritance that has stood for 150 years, scientists say plants sometimes select better bits of DNA in order to develop normally even when they inherited genetic flaws from their predecessors.

In the Purdue experiment, researchers found that a plant belonging to the mustard and watercress family sometimes corrects the genetic code it inherited from its flawed parents and grows normally like its unflawed grandparents and other ancestors.

Scientists said the discovery raises questions about whether humans also have the potential for avoiding genetic flaws or even repairing them, although the plant experiments did not directly address the possibility in higher organisms. They said the actual proteins responsible for making these fixes probably would be different in animals, if the capacity exists at all.

''This means that inheritance can happen more flexibly than we thought,'' said Robert Pruitt, the paper's senior author.

Simply amazing. When it comes to biology and genetics, we have so much farther to go...


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