Quadruple helix DNA discovered in human cells

Illustration for the G-quadruplex

[W]hile watching BBC News’s ‘Hardtalk’ program last night and hearing all about the latest efforts by the World Trade Organization to forge a ‘new world order’ (no, the guest, Pascal Lamy didn’t use those words, but you can bet that is the ultimate goal), I noticed a news crawl that mentioned the following report:

…in the year of that scientific landmarks 60th Anniversary, Cambridge researchers have published a paper proving that four-stranded quadruple helix DNA structures — known as G-quadruplexes — also exist within the human genome. They form in regions of DNA that are rich in the building block guanine, usually abbreviated to G.

read more via Quadruple helix DNA discovered in human cells.

Now, my studies in genetics at Indiana University also mentioned these guanine rich ‘boxes’ that–at that time–were unproven in vivo. Now, Cambridge researchers have proven that the four-stranded units, also called guanine quadruplexes, do indeed exist in our bodies during cell division (the area is also called the telomere). However, researchers have also found quadruple DNA in positions other than the telomere in vitro, using a potassium-rich medium.

The article at Science Daily (linked above) goes on to cite the scientists’ hope that this observation will lead to cancer cell treatment. Targeting telomerase through epigenetics may prove successful (if finely tuned), since cancer cells rely on having this gene switched on.

By the way, if you’re interested in cancer prevention, consider drinking green tea. This beverage is chock-ful of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol that keeps the telomerase gene switched to the ‘off’ position. Green tea can also lead to cancer cell death by turning off telomerase in those nasty cells as well (cancer tumors grow because cells never stop dividing, and they never die).

Four-stranded DNA as a living reality must be cause for celebration in the transhumanist realm. Researchers seeking to enhance mankind have considered triple-stranded DNA as the next big leap, but this is an unstable conformation. One wonders if they will now set their sights on quadruple-stranded molecules.