Hidden Properties Of Genetic Mutations Leading To Cancer Revealed
Researchers have discovered that some types of cancer caused by genetic mutations contain electronic signatures ‘hidden in better ways’ than other types of mutations. This characteristic may help them to stay undiscovered by the human body' s defence mechanisms.
The physicists from Taiwan and the University of Warwick have conducted a new study according to which the electronic features of the DNA could be used for diagnosing and detecting mutation hotspots.
The power of supercomputers was used by the researchers in order to create a model for every possible mutation of the 162 disease-related genes, this resulted in a total of 5 billion calculations. After comparing these models with real medical databases consisting of mutations known to cause cancer in individuals, scientists discovered that theoretical mutations not documented in real life do not have an electronic structure as stealthier as the real-life mutations.
These mutations responsible for disease, have created, in the DNA molecule, a smaller electronic structure which might make them less visible to cell repair mechanisms.
“We studied the scale of change in electronic charge transport for pathogenic mutations when compared to all possible mutations, said the professor Rudolf Roemer, member of the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick.
According to professor R. Roemer the mutations having the smallest change in the electronic characteristics have a correspondent in those mutations already known to be responsible for causing the real life cancer.
Rudolf Roemer explained the undetectability of these diseasecausing mutations by comparing them with planes that use stealth technology to remain undetected by radar systems.
The professor also said that: “Similarly the real-life mutations that show up in the medical databases are likely to be the ones that didn’t have a sufficiently dramatic effect on the structure of the DNA when they first appeared, which is why they were not spotted and repaired early on by the body’s molecular defence mechanisms.
Using stealth properties gives those mutiation the possibility to remain undercover and elude the body’s defence mechanism, making them very dangerous in their ability to burst out all of a sudden and cause a disease like cancer.
According to Dr. Stephen Wells from the Department of Physics in the University of Warwick, this was the very first time when scientists have discovered a link between mutations and the electronic features of the genes. These new findings may suggest that these differences in electronic signatures could someday be used as a method for early cancer detection.