Scientists mistakenly discovered something mysterious and extraordinarily large. DNA A structure deep in the mud of the California Wetlands. This structure, known as the “borg,” is likely to belong to unicellular organisms and carries many genes that are not scientifically known. It’s not entirely clear what these giant DNA strings do, but they can help enhance the organism’s ability to break down chemicals in the soil.
“I’m not so excited about this discovery since CRISPR,” Jillian Banfield, a senior author of geologists at the University of California, Berkeley, said on Twitter. (((CRISPR Is a breakthrough gene editing technology based on the natural defense mechanism found in bacteria. ) “Imagine a strange alien body, alive or dead, that assimilate and share important genes.”
Banfield’s son proposed naming the structure “Borg” after the famous Star Trek alien, which collects and absorbs the skills and knowledge of other alien species.Researchers have published unpeer-reviewed findings in a preprint database bioRxiv..
Banfield and her team discovered Borg deep in the wetlands of California, looking for fragments of DNA involved in the carbon cycle. carbon Recycled through the environment According to nature.. We then identified 19 different types from similar regions of California and Colorado.
Researchers do not yet know what these borgs are, or what they are doing, but believe that strange entities are likely to be present in unicellular organisms known as archaea. increase. Their early studies suggest that the newly discovered structure is a type of extrachromosomal element (ECE) — DNA conserved outside the organism. Chromosomes, A dense structure that houses most of the genes of an organism.
According to Nature, microorganisms can share many different ECEs with each other to perform useful functions that are not necessarily “essential”, such as antibiotic resistance. Commonly known ECEs are viruses or plasmids, small DNA molecules found in bacteria (and some other cells), which usually provide some genetic benefit to bacteria, such as antibiotic resistance. ..
Borg is “huge size,” said Basem Al-Shayeb, lead author and NSF graduate researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Researchers have discovered that DNA can be up to about 1 million base pairs in length. This is a nucleic acid duo that forms the rungs of DNA molecules. Its length makes them about one-third the size of their host genome, Al-Shayeb told Live Science by email.
“These genes are quite different from those found in the previously described ECE,” Al-Shayeb added. He said that Borg’s DNA exists linearly rather than the traditional circular shape found in viral and plasmid genomes.In addition, they have an unusually repetitive region, which is not a common feature found in the genome of virus Or a plasmid.
“I think it’s the most exciting, not because Borg’s single feature is incredibly unique, but because the combination of these features makes Borg remarkable,” said Alshave. He added that nearly 80% of Borg’s genes have “totally unknown functions.”
In the remaining 20% of the genome, they found that Borg had acquired many genes that “enhanced” the host’s ability. For example, they believe that Borg is likely to increase the host’s metabolism by increasing the host’s ability to metabolize methane.
Borg is like a “turbo booster” of methane metabolism, Banfield wrote on Twitter. “This means they can have significant climate impacts.” In the future, Borg could be a useful tool for capturing. Greenhouse gas From the environment, Al-Shayeb agreed.
They also have the potential to improve protein production, promote nitrogen fixation (or the process by which nitrogen in the air is converted to organic compounds that can be used for survival and growth), and promote extracellular electron transfer. Discovered that it has a gene (necessary for an organism to breathe compounds other than compounds) air). That’s also why we believe we found them deep underground in oxygen-free soil, “Al Shave said.
Wherever they found the Borg, they also found DNA belonging to the archaea known as Methanoperedens, According to Science Magazine.. This suggests that the borg may be inside these microbes, but it’s not clear because scientists can’t grow. Methanoperedens Test your ideas in the lab. Whatever this structure is, it’s “quite exciting,” W. Ford Dolittle, an emeritus professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Dalhousie University in Canada, who wasn’t part of the study, told Science.
Still, others are not so sure. Mart Kurpovic, an archaeal virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, who was not involved in the study, said: Chemistry & Engineering News Borgs are not completely unique and can be a type of giant plasmid, also known as a megaplasmid.
Still, “I don’t know much about Borg right now,” Al Shave said. “Learn more about them will be a great adventure.”
Originally published in Live Science.
Strange DNA “Borg” found in California
Source link Strange DNA “Borg” found in California