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Lab report: An edited sequence

There may be more to the genome than just the genes

By Philip Ball   July 2011

Genomes are popularly regarded as the instructions for making an organism. The sequences of genes encode the composition of proteins, which are the body’s chemical workhorses and the primary fabric of muscle, skin, tendon, nerves and bone. Since the early days of modern genetics, the central dogma has been that information flows more or less inexorably from genes, via the intermediary RNA molecule, to proteins.

Far from merely filling in the details of that process, molecular biology has gradually revealed its shortcomings. The picture remains true in essence, but has many loopholes and exceptions. Much can happen to the information…

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