Mutant mice challenge rules of genetic inheritance
In a discovery that rips up the rulebook of genetics, researchers in France have shown that RNA, rather than its more famous cousin DNA, might be able to ferry information from one generation of mice to the next.
DNA has long been credited with the job of passing traits from parent to child. Sperm and egg deliver that DNA to the embryo, where it ultimately decides much of our looks and personality.
The new study in Nature1 thrusts RNA, DNA's sidekick, into the limelight. It suggests that sperm and eggs of mammals, perhaps including humans, can carry a cargo of RNA molecules into the embryo - and that these can change that generation and subsequent ones.
This method of inheritance could serve a useful purpose. A plant, for example, could adapt to drought during its lifetime by quenching activity of a gene and passing that on through inherited RNA, rather than picking up a mutation in the DNA. Should this characteristic prove useless a few generations down the line when conditions change, it could prove easier to undo.
Stel dat dit in alle levende wezens gebeurt, hoeveel invloed heeft deze manier van overerfing dan op de evolutie?