DNA Paramedics

Quick Takes

A new study discovered the complexity of a cell’s DNA repair system. It seems the cell repairs damaged strands of DNA from the nucleus in a special repair shop at the nuclear membrane, at least in fruit flies and mice.

It functions a lot like paramedics transporting a sick person to the emergency room. When strands of DNA are broken, an emergency response team is launched inside the nucleus. First, a molecular path is constructed between the DNA and the edge of the nucleus. This pathway consists of a series of threads made of filaments called actin. The “paramedics,” which are proteins called myosins, grab the patient (the damaged DNA) and walk it on molecular “legs” along the road to a pore at the edge of the nucleus, the emergency room. Inside this pore, the DNA strands are examined and repaired. The cell then disperses the nuclear actin filaments, the planks in the temporary road, for another day.

The DNA where this response system is initiated has been labeled “junk” by geneticists for years.

This complex repair system isn’t even the most interesting aspect of this discovery. The DNA where the emergency response is initiated has been labeled “junk” by geneticists for years. However, increasing evidence shows that this part of DNA is anything but junk and reveals mutations in “junk” DNA being linked to aging and the development of cancer.

God’s design continues to confound our simplistic assumptions. Now we’ve uncovered a complex health-saving support network that we never dreamed of.

Answers Magazine

November–December 2018

Aging is a result of Adam’s fall. But can we do anything to ease the effects of aging or extend our life span?

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