This Article is About
cop
brain cells
tissue cells
different shape
genetic code
genes
Rnai, The Cop
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It is not a shock when we say "All living things are made up of DNA." DNA is a code of nucleotides spun up into a double helix. In order to read this code that turns a flower purple, that gives squirrels the fur to survive, or and a shark the ability to regrow teeth, that requires RNA. RNA is what turns you from a simple genetic code to the complex living breathing being you are.

DNA basically works for RNA. What DNA contains its genetic code inside the nucleus. What RNA does is it copies the code and sends it outside the nucleus for ribosomes to obtain an make the various proteins required in the body, (i.e. brain cells, tissue cells, etc). RNA also contains a very special feature that no one knew about until the 90's and it was discovered by accident. This is called RNAi.

It started when Rich Jordensen was working for a biotech company. He was asked to created "a dazzling flower to attract investors." He decided to create a very purple petunia because petunias were very easy to introduce genes to. What Rich did was "sneak an extra copy of the purple gene into each flower," so when RNA copied the DNA,more purple would be produced. What happened though was the exact opposite. White flowers were created. Rich hadn't realized it yet but what he had discovered was RNAi.

RNAi acts as cop in the way that it inspects everything that enters the cells to be sure that it isn't harmful. When this cop discovers something that could be potentially harmful, it destroys it. this is what happened in the case of the petunia incident. When the gene to create purpler petunias entered the cell, the cop looked at it and saw it had a different shape than the rest of the already existing purple genes. As a result the cop destroyed both the added and the already existing purple genes. Now why did the cop destroy the already existing purple genes? The cop isn't perfect. It is unable to distinguish between the added genes and the already existing ones so as a result, it destroys them all to be sure nothing is harmful in the cell. With all the purple genes gone, white flowers were produced.

This discovery changed the world of science. Now that we know that RNAi exists and it destroys genes that are added to create more genes, this can cure diseases such as that of Marti Russel, who was losing here vision. Her problem was she had to many blood vessels growing in her eye so the doctor thought "If we inject more genes to code for more blood vessels, then the cop should destroy the genes and improve her vision." He did and it worked, her vision improved.

Currently research is being done to see if this cop can turn off other genes that are deadly such as cancer and alzheimers. Not only that but RNAi is used in order to try and figure out what each gene in the human genome does simply by injecting more of a particular gene into the body to see what gets shut off.


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