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Supposed DNA junk is more individual than genes with a protein blueprint

Photo: APA (AFP) © Photo: APA (AFP)

Almost all parts of the human genome are copied in the RNA molecules, even if they do not contain any information on protein production. These so-called non-coding RNA molecules play a decisive role in regulating the genes as well as in the emergence of diseases.

Scientists at the Research Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have now demonstrated that the volume of non-coding RNA in two healthy people is more highly variable than those of their protein-producing genes. In other words, they contribute more strongly to the biological individuality of human beings.  

When examining the complete RNA of white blood cells of healthy human donors, the researchers discovered that several non-coding RNA genes were missing in some people, or they produced ten times less. Such differences could affect the predisposition for some diseases. The non-coding RNA genes are also frequently used in personalized medicine as the point of attack for drugs, or as 

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