Scientists have discovered previously unknown genes which show that humans are still evolving
Even junk can have hidden treasures. These variations were found to be involved in the health of humans, from cancers and developmental disorders such as autism to aging. A landmark study in 2022 finally solved the genomic mystery by sequencing all eight percent of the undeciphered remaining DNA.
Scientists are now discovering that certain genetic sequences encode protein that have no obvious ancestors. These orphan genes, as geneticists refer to them, were created spontaneously by humans. Researchers believe that some of these orphan gene sequences arose spontaneously during our evolution, as opposed to others we inherited directly from primate ancestors. Researchers in Ireland and Greece published a paper in Cell Reports on Tuesday that found 155 smaller versions of DNA sequences known as open reading frames. These ORFs make microproteins which could be important for a healthy cell’s growth, or linked to various ailments such as muscular dystrophy, and retinitis Pigmentosa.
Nikolaos Vaskirlis, scientist at Biomedical Science Research Center \”Alexander Fleming\”, Greece, and the first author of this paper, told Inverse: \”I think that this is the first study to look at the specific evolution origins of these ORFs and microproteins.\” He says that the origin of these small ORFs and their microproteins has been a mystery.