AUG 21, 2018 6:22 PM PDT

Genetic Regulators of Regeneration Bring Hope for Drug Discovery

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image Credit: MDI Biological Laboratory via ScienceDaily

Portions of DNA that do not seem to have a function are referred to as “junk”. Now, according to a study published in Regenerative Medicine, researchers at the MDI Biological Laboratory and the University of Maine have discovered that this DNA likely plays a role in genetic circuit regulation of highly regenerative animals.

In particular, researchers discovered long noncoding RNAs by examining genomic data from RegenDbase (Comparative Models of Regeneration Database) which was developed by MDI Biological Laboratory. The discovery of these novel RNAs can now allow scientists to understand why animals such as zebrafish and salamanders are capable of regenerating their tissues and organs, and potentially allow the development of drugs that may trigger human dormant pathways for regeneration. "Many chronic and degenerative diseases are characterized by a limited capacity to repair and regenerate damaged tissues," said Viravuth P. Yin, Ph.D., of the MDI Biological Laboratory. "By advancing our understanding of the genetic regulation of regeneration in highly regenerative animals, we may one day be able to trigger regeneration in humans with drugs that manipulate these pathways."

Watch The Video Below To Learn More About Recent Research in Tissue Regeneration: 

"One of the secrets to decoding why zebrafish can regenerate their hearts while adult humans cannot lie with these noncoding RNAs," explained University of Maine’s Benjamin L. King, Ph.D and the paper's lead author. "The protein-coding genes in zebrafish and humans are more or less the same -- what's different is how they are regulated during regeneration by noncoding RNAs."The discoveries by Yin and King along with recent advances in regenerative medicine have enabled the introduction of sophisticated genomic tools that researchers can utilize to “pin” the genes responsible for coding complex of regeneration pathways. Additionally, the authors were able to define a comprehensive gene expression atlas for zebrafish heart regeneration and to utilize this data to point a reference for comparison with other models. "The biological role of more than 90 percent of the genetic material in the cell is unknown, which raises the question: Why is it there?" explains Hermann Haller, M.D., president of the MDI Biological Laboratory. "This extraordinary discovery demonstrates the power of computational biology to map this uncharted genetic landscape."

Yin and King are hopeful of new drugs in the future based on their research.

Source: MDI Biological Laboratory

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
JUN 24, 2021
Immunology
Gut-Healing Stem Cells to Treat HIV Infections
JUN 24, 2021
Gut-Healing Stem Cells to Treat HIV Infections
A new study has revealed how stem cells can be used to amplify immune responses to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The ...
AUG 08, 2021
Microbiology
Manganese Could be an Achilles' Heel for Some Pneumonia Germs
AUG 08, 2021
Manganese Could be an Achilles' Heel for Some Pneumonia Germs
Researchers recently discovered bacteria that fed on the element manganese. Scientists also know that some bacterial pat ...
AUG 10, 2021
Microbiology
Herbal Medicine May Help Restore the Microbiome, Treat Gulf War Illnesses
AUG 10, 2021
Herbal Medicine May Help Restore the Microbiome, Treat Gulf War Illnesses
About one-third of Gulf war veterans have chronic and unexplained medical issues that include gastrointestinal disorders ...
AUG 20, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
One Vaccine to Rule Them All: Researchers One Step Closer to Universal Vaccine
AUG 20, 2021
One Vaccine to Rule Them All: Researchers One Step Closer to Universal Vaccine
Researchers have identified two antibodies that can protect animals from diseases caused by alphaviruses, which are RNA ...
AUG 21, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Schools of Fish Inspire 'Microswimmers' that Could Revolutionize Drug Delivery
AUG 21, 2021
Schools of Fish Inspire 'Microswimmers' that Could Revolutionize Drug Delivery
When 'microswimmers'- microscopic objects that can move in liquid environments- move in the same direction insid ...
SEP 22, 2021
Cancer
Whole Genome Sequencing for Cancer Diagnostics
SEP 22, 2021
Whole Genome Sequencing for Cancer Diagnostics
The human genome consists of genetic material known as DNA.  We all have unique DNA sequences made up of four bases ...
Loading Comments...