News

How Our Genes Evolve: The Discovery of New Genes in the Human Genome

  A study has found that 155 genes from unique regions of DNA were not “conventional” copied from known genes, but started from scratch, suggesting that modern humans continue to evolve. Some of these genes can be traced back to the ancient origins of mammals, while others may be involved in diseases unique to humans.
  Genes, also known as genetic factors, support the basic structure and performance of life. Until today, human beings have estimated the number of their own functional genes – 20,000 to 25,000, and the functions of a large number of genes have not been discovered. Especially in some non-functional gene regions (called “junk gene” regions in the past), there are still many unknown genes waiting for humans to discover and excavate.
   A recent study by the Warri Biomedical Science Research Center in Greece and the University College Dublin in Ireland identified 155 genes from unique regions of DNA that arose not “conventionally” from known gene duplication events, but from Starting from scratch, it shows that modern humans are still continuing to evolve.
  ”Junk genes” may be useful. There is a central dogma
   in biology . Genetic information is generally transcribed from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to ribonucleic acid (RNA), and then translated by the latter to produce proteins needed by the human body. All genetic traits. The Human Genome Project shows that 3/4 of the genes in the human genome can be transcribed, but only about 1.5% of the genes have the ability to encode proteins, that is, there are 20,000 to 25,000 functional genes.
  For a long time it was believed that genes that encode proteins are located in the “open reading frames” (sequences of the DNA sequence that have the potential to encode proteins) in the human genome. However, in fact, there are still a large number of “small open reading frames” in the human genome, which are commonly referred to as “minigenes”.
   The “small open reading frame” is also a “junk gene” in the mouth of previous scientists. This concept was proposed by Japanese geneticist Mikhai Ohno in 1972, and it is used to refer to genes in the genome that do not encode any proteins or enzymes. But in fact, the concept of junk genes is not accurate, because many of these genes have the ability to encode and translate proteins, and can exert their physiological or pathological effects by interacting with other proteins.
  
  Human genes are constantly evolving. The 155 new genes discovered
   this time come from the non-coding region of DNA, that is, from the “small open reading frame”. These microgenes can encode and produce tiny proteins (micropeptides), thus participating in life processes and physiological functions and diseases etc. Some of these genes can be traced back to the ancient origins of mammals, and others are predicted to be associated with diseases unique to humans.
   It is particularly worth mentioning that the researchers discovered a new gene related to heart function unique to humans in the “small open reading frame”, and no orthologous transcription was detected in any tissue of mice, dogs or chickens. Moreover, this gene arose after the split between the modern human and chimpanzee lineages. If it is proved in further research that this microgene appeared in the last few million years, then this will become an important evidence that human genes continue to evolve and adapt to the human body.
   In addition, among the 155 new genes, the researchers also found that 44 genes were related to growth defects through experiments, proving that they are important in the life system that maintains human health.
   In conclusion, although the exact mechanism for the spontaneous generation of new genes in non-coding regions is still unclear, with the deepening of research, we will be able to find more hidden functions in the human genome in the future.
  The researchers pointed out that whether it is a functional gene that originally existed in the genome but was not found before, or a gene newly evolved by the human body from scratch, it proves that humans are still changing and maintaining genes through communication and adaptation with the environment, and continue to develop. Evolve to adapt to the environment and get a better future.