- Dear Brian:
This shows that intelligent beings can manipulate the
existing structure of life. How does this demonstrate
that this happened untold millions of times by random
chance or principle of life to create progressively
totally distinct superior species.
Sidney Hagen:"My point on testifiable, and
Brian: The story of the discovery dates back to 1990,
but the real
breakthrough occurred in 1998, when Andrew Fire, at
Institution, affiliated to the Johns Hopkins
University in Baltimore, found=
that RNA � a close cousin of DNA, the molecule of
inheritance � could
switch off genes.
Dr Fire coined the phrase "RNA interference" and
explained it by
suggesting that genes can be selectively silenced.
That would mean
defective genes that cause tumours, or genes necessary
for a virus to
replicate in a cell, could be turned off.
But the real breakthrough occurred in experiments this
involved testing the idea on human cells � Dr Fire had
shown it only on a
microscope nematode worm. Two independent teams of
demonstrated that human cells in a test tube could be
made to resist
infection with HIV, and a third set of researchers
found that it worked
against the polio virus � in a way that they believe
will prove effective
against other human viruses.
"In the past year we've realised that this machinery
of RNA interference
works just as well in human cells. It's led to an
explosion in interest,"
Professor Carmichael said.
Five years ago there were just a handful of scientific
on RNAi, two years ago there were 100, last year there
were 1,000 and
this year there will be thousands more, he said.
One idea for Aids treatment is to take out a person's
blood cells and
engineer them using RNAi to make them immune to HIV.
should then be resistant to infection.
The beauty of the process is that it is specific to
the gene being targeted=
and so the interference should not result in the
silencing of other
important genes, Professor Carmichael said. This is
important when it
comes to possible side-effects. "If you design it
against HIV then there is=
almost no possibility that it will result in a perfect
match against the
patient's own DNA," he said.
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