Human 'Quadruple Helix' DNA

Cambridge University scientists writing in the Journal Nature say they have seen four-stranded DNA at work in human cells for the first time.


(A representation of the four-stranded structure (L) with fluorescent markers)

They suggest that control of the structures could provide novel ways to fight the disease.

"The existence of these structures may be loaded when the cell has a certain genotype or a certain dysfunctional state," said Prof Shankar Balasubramanian from Cambridge's department of chemistry.

"We need to prove that; but if that is the case, targeting them with synthetic molecules could be an interesting way of selectively targeting those cells that have this dysfunction," he told BBC News.

Although I think that there were references by scientists to the idea of four-stranded DNA by the early 1970's, science fiction writers didn't hesitate to introduce the idea to sf readers. This excerpt is from the original Hitchhiker's Radio Scripts written by Douglas Adams broadcast in 1978.

"The Haggunenons of Vicissitus Three have the most impatient chromosomes of any life form in the Galaxy. ... Their genetic structure, based on the quadruple sterated octohelix, is so chronically unstable, that far from passing their basic shape onto their children, they will quiet frequently evolve several times over lunch."

Via BBC; thanks to Eric Nodacker for the tip and the reference for this article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/20/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.

Real Leather Without Cows Modern Meadow Biofabrication
'Plastissue, as any fool can see...' - WF Wallace, 1952,

Epigenetic Memory's On/Off Switch Found
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' - Barbara Hambly, 1982.

Rabbit's Brain Cryogenically Frozen Successfully
'Even in the case of the most perfect freezing there is still some activity...' - Edward Page Mitchell, 1879.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'

Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'

Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'

MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'

NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Superior Morals For Autonomous Cars
Exemplars of military and civic virtue.

Housekeeping Robots Easy To Imagine, Tough To Make
George Jetson had it easy.

Augmented Reality On Construction Sites
'To Nigel Bishop, the walls had become blue glass...'

Moorebot Personal Assistant Robot
'...a full-size 38-tube fully automatic companion for you!'

One-Shot Gene Therapy Cure $665K
One shot - one cure. Guaranteed.

Laser 'Autonomous Target Selection' Now Available To Curiosity Rover
And, given the birthday situation, is this a good time?

Ultrasonic Wireless ‘Neural Dust’ Sensors For Medical Monitoring
'These dustmotes already had sensors and independence built in.'

Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'
'The 'skin's got these reflexes, changes its permeability...'

Record 1007 Robots Dance In Harbinger Of Doom
Okay, Sonny, I know you're out there.

Cicret Makes Your Skin Into A Display
'On the translucent mica-like coverings over the orifices, appeared reddish characters...'

Tesla's To Eye Future With New Sensors?
'I want to show you something new in the way of an automobile.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.