Second DNA code is discovered

July 26, 2006 at 11:22 AM

EVANSTON, Ind., July 26 (UPI) -- U.S. and Israeli scientists have reported discovering a second DNA code that sets the placement of the nucleosomes around which DNA is looped.

The researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois and the Weizmann Institute in Israel say the new code they discovered is in addition to DNA's genetic code, which specifies all the proteins a cell makes, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Nucleosomes -- tiny protein spools -- control access to the DNA itself.

Scientists told the Times the discovery, if confirmed, could open new insights into the higher order control of the genes, such as the process by which each human cell is allowed to activate the genes it needs, but cannot access the genes used by other types of cell.

The research by Jonathan Widom of Northwestern University, Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute, and colleagues appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.

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