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HudsonAlpha Plays Part in Big DNA Breakthrough

Scientists at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, in Huntsville, were key players in a nationwide, multi-institution, multi-national research breakthrough about the role of DNA in cell development.

Project ENCODE explained, in a set of papers from multiple researchers published simultaneously, that almost all of the human genome sequence—at least 80 percent—is important. For a number of years, many scientists believed that only a small portion contained all the keys of life, but the new studies show that far more critical functions are contained in the sequence.

Rick Myers, the president and director at HudsonAlpha, was chosen as one of the scientists to explain the relevance of the research findings.

In a press release, the institute explained: “Among important discoveries released today, researchers found that more than 80 percent of the human genome sequence is linked to biological function through regulation of our genes. ‘There are millions of additional elements encoded in our DNA, involving more letters of our genome than do the protein-coding genes,’ said Myers. These elements help determine which sets of proteins, as well as the quantities of each of them, are made in each of cell.”

Myers called the results “a crucial step toward deciphering the language of regulation that underlies human biology.”

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