Science Interviews


Wed, 14th Jan 2015

Gene of the month - Braveheart

Kat Arney

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Clever mice and drunken flies

And finally itís time for our gene of the month, and this time itís Braveheart. Nothing to do with Scottish warriors, Mel Gibson or the allegedly most historically inaccurate film ever made, Braveheart is a mouse gene. But itís one with a difference. Many genes carry the instructions that tell cells to make a particular protein - these are called protein coding genes. The DNA of the gene is Ďreadí to make an intermediate message, called RNA, which then acts as a kind of molecular recipe that the cellís factories use to build the right protein. But now thereís a growing number of genes we know about that donít make proteins. Instead, the RNA they produce, known as non-coding RNA, is useful to the cell in different ways, for example by helping to switch genes on and off. Braveheart is one of these non-coding RNAs, and is needed to help turn early embryonic cells into heart cells during the early stages of development in the womb. No kilt required.


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