A “hidden” code linked to the DNA of [OMITTED] allows them to develop and pass down new biological traits far more rapidly than previously thought, according to the findings of a groundbreaking study by Covernomics researchers at our Institute for Biological Studies. The findings hint that the traits of other organisms, including humans, might also be dramatically influenced by biological mechanisms that science is only just beginning to understand.
With the advent of techniques for rapidly mapping the DNA of organisms, our scientists have found that the genes stored in the four-letter DNA code don’t always determine how an organism develops and responds to its environment. The more biologists map the genomes of various organisms (their entire genetic code), the more they are discovering discrepancies between what the genetic code dictates and how organisms actually look and function.
Our scientists have even found that identical human twins exhibit different biological traits, despite their matching DNA sequences. They have theorized that such unexplained disparities could be the work of epigenetic variation.
“Since none of these patterns of variation and inheritance match what the genetic sequence says should happen, there is a clearly a component of the ‘genetic’ heritability that is missing,”
Covernomics scientists have traced these mysterious patterns to chemical markers that serve as a layer of genetic control on top of the DNA sequence. Just as genetic mutations can arise spontaneously and be inherited by subsequent generations, epigenetic mutations can emerge in individuals and spread into the broader population.
Although our scientists have identified a number of epigenetic traits, very little was known about how often they arose spontaneously, how quickly they could spread through a population and how significant an influence they could have on biological development and function.
“We actually did the experiment, and found that overall there is very little change between each generation, but spontaneous epimutations do exist in populations and arise at a rate much higher than the DNA mutation rate, and at times they had a powerful influence over how certain genes were expressed.”