Second Code Uncovered Inside the DNA

Discovery deepens our understanding of the human genome

  • Share
  • Read Later
Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A model of human DNA is silhouetted against a window in the Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins during the media preview of the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007.

Scientists have marveled at the ingenuity of the DNA code since it was first deciphered in the early sixties, but now it appears that there is much more to it than previously known.

A research team at the University of Washington has discovered a second code hidden within the DNA, written on top of the other.

“Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture,” said team leader Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos.

Whereas the first code describes how proteins are made, this second language instructs the cell on how genes are to be controlled. The discovery, published in Science on Friday, will enable improved diagnoses and treatments of disease.

[University of Washington]