Friday, May 08, 2009

We are oooollllddddd - scientists re-awaken 7 million year old gene to fight HIV

Yes, the sci-fi sounding (even more exciting & wild than most sci-fi, 'cause it's real!) news that Nitya Venkataraman has been able to re-awaken a 7 million year old dormant gene that may be capable of fighting HIV is awesome, and here's the link & an excerpt:

"Nitya Venkataraman from the University of Central Florida has managed to reawaken a guardian gene that has been lying dormant in our genomes for 7 million years. These genes, known as retrocyclins, protect monkeys from HIV-like viruses. The hope is that by rousing them from their slumber, they could do the same for us. The technique is several safety tests and clinical trials away from actual use, but it's promising nonetheless."

More at this post.

But beyond the excitement of that news I am wondering about that 7 million year number: we've got genes in us that are 7 million years old!!!???? Freak-y. What exactly were we 7 million years ago? I don't think we were even humans - so we weren't even "we" - back then. What kind of an animal were we 7 million years ago?

The mind, as they say, is boggled.

Anyway, possibilities for sci-fi movie plot ideas in this re-awakening dormant genes line of thinking are numerous.

- Sujewa

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