2013 – The scientists from the University of Washington discovered a second code hiding within DNA molecules. The discovery was published in the December 13. 2013. issue of Science.
Since the genetic code was deciphered in the 1960s, it was assumed that it was used exclusively to write information needed for protein synthesis. It is now proven that the genetic code is used for another important information: the instruction to the cell how to control genes.
The instructions for protein synthesis and the control instructions are written on top of the other which shows the extreme importance of the DNA molecule and its power in storing information.
The DNA genetic code uses a 64-letter alphabet called codons. The UW team discovered that some of these codons have two meanings: one related to protein sequence, and the other related to gene expression control. The codons that carry two meanings are called “duons”.
It is clear that the alteration of the genetic code (DNA molecule) will generate a change in protein synthesis. But it is now proven that the disrupting of the second language which controls gene control programs will cause a significant change in the cell activity which actually causes diseases and disorders.
This discovery explains a lot in the manipulation of the plant genome. For example, insertion of a single gene in different regions of the DNA molecule affects the newly created GM plants. The new plants may have flowers with different shapes – which affects their ability to be pollinated. Or, in another example, it is known that GM corn contains very high levels of formaldehyde, possibly due to the overproduction generated by modifying the control mechanisms in corn cells. This explains why livestock, if there is choice, always chooses the feed that is not GMO (it actually can smell the difference!) . Or, very important from the nutrition standpoint, the alteration of the gene control in the DNA may reduce the synthesis of nutrients expected to be found in a specific agricultural product. Even the increasing incidence of allergies can be connected to this new knowledge.
This discovery is very dangerous for the GM business. It shows that the whole GM industry is based on the wrong assumption that “the only change produced in altering DNA is a changed protein”. It is now proven that the GM manipulation changes the whole cell and whole cell metabolism. GM crops and foods derived from recombinant plants can not be considered “substantially equivalent” to conventional foods (the US FDA principle according to which it is not necessary to label GM products and food).
University of Washington , washington.edu / news
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