Bacteria `evolved way to safeguard crucial genetic material`
London: Scientists claim that bacteria have evolved a mechanism that protects important genes from random mutation, effectively reducing self-destruction risk.
The findings by a team at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory`s European Bioinformatics Institute answer a question that has been under debate for half a century and provide insights into how disease-causing mutations arise and pathogens evolve, the `Nature` journal reported.
"We discovered that there must be a molecular mechanism that preferentially protects certain areas of the genome over others," said team leader Nicholas Luscombe.
He added: "If we can identify the proteins involved and uncover how this works, we`ll be even closer to understanding how mutations that lead to diseases like cancer can be prevented."
For their study, the researchers analysed 120,000 tiny genetic mutations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 34 strains of the bacterium E. Coli, the scientists were able to quantify how random the mutation rate was in different areas of the bacterial genomes.
Their results showed that key genes mutate at a much lower rate than the rest of the genetic material, which decreases the risk of such genes suffering a detrimental mutation.
"We were struck by how variable the mutation rate appears to be along the genome. Our observations suggest these bacteria have evolved a clever mechanism to control the rate of evolution in crucial areas of the genome," the researchers said.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Security guard beats woman journalist publicly in Pakistan
- Pakistan violates ceasefire in J&K's Hiranagar; 7 Pak Rangers killed, BSF jawan injured
- ISIS terrorists escape Mosul disguised in women's clothing
- J&K: Suspected Pakistani spy arrested in Samba district
- DNA: Reporting on war against ISIS in Mosul
- BSP shrugs off Rita Bahuguna 's jump; says BJP will still face defeat in UP polls
- MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli? Here's Virender Sehwag's best ever reply
- Hema Malini did not accept land for dance academy: Government to HC
- Seven Pak rangers, one militant killed in retaliatory firing by BSF on Jammu border
- 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' row: Raj Thackeray says Rs 5 crore 'penance' for signing Pakistani artistes