The X Files Has Done It Again
In a story line that came right out of the popular 90s drama, scientists now believe they may have solved a possible life-saving mystery DNA process, that could be used for cancer treatment and to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria.
In a scene played out by Gillian Anderson, Agent Scully suspected aliens inserted branched DNA into her blood and now researchers at the University of Sheffield have used this theory to reveal how branch DNA molecules are removed from the iconic double-helical structure – a process that is essential for all life forms.
Though Agent Sully believed that DNA was added to her blood in an effort to “track” her and turn her into “something inhuman”, Professor of Functional Genomics at the university, Jon Sayers, says “In reality, far from being of alien origin, branched DNA is formed every day in our bodies. It happens every time our cells divide. These branches are essential intermediates formed during the process of copying our DNA.”
Sayers also stated “the latest discovery could pave the way for better diagnostics or new drugs to treat cancer and may one day be used to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria. Understanding how this works will help to engineer better and more reliable tests and tools for laboratory research and hospital diagnostics labs.
“The enzymes that carry out this process are sometimes involved in cancer. They have been linked to tumor progression and mutation, so this discovery could pave the way for better diagnostics or new drugs.”