Some representatives of the animal world have an amazing ability to regenerate – for example, a jellyfish, being cut in half, quite easily restores the integrity of its body. Scientists have long been trying to find an answer to the question of exactly which part of the genome of these living creatures allows such fast and effective regeneration – and today a team of specialists from Harvard University presented their new study on the consideration and reconstruction of the complete genome of a flatworm to detect such a site DNA – the results of the study were really unusual and very interesting.
Specialists in particular have focused on the study of so-called DNA switches, by which individual genes and gene bonds are altered in such a way as to activate other genes associated with them. By carefully examining this relationship, Harvard researchers discovered a special section of DNA that regulates the activation of a control gene, also called the EGR gene.
This EGR gene, being activated by one or another internal factor or signal, starts and controls many third-party genetic processes, simultaneously turning on or off individual genes. Specifically, this gene launches individual recovery genes, which in the literal sense of the word open in the genome, being previously densely compressed and inactive. Thus, the worm regenerates quickly and efficiently, even when it has been completely divided in half. By exploring these genetic aspects and relationships, scientists hope to apply this knowledge in the future.
For example, in the creation and testing of new medicinal compounds and chemical agents that can trigger individual subspecies of genes and gene regions, thereby ensuring rapid restoration of nerve tissues and cells. Continuing to study the work and regulation of the current EGR gene, experts note that despite the incompleteness of the research project and the presence of only preliminary results, we can already understand that this knowledge is really useful.