Human DNA contains many atypical small open reading frames (sORFs), which are typically less than 300 nucleotides in DNA sequence length, and are called “microgenes.
These “microgenes” can encode microproteins with important physiological functions.
On December 20, a paper published in Cell Reports revealed that humans continue to evolve.
Scientists have discovered the existence of 155 new “microgenes” in human DNA.
Some of these can be traced back to our ancient mammalian ancestors, and others are “microgenesis” that has been linked to human-specific diseases.
Based on a dataset of published, functional microproteins, the researchers reconstructed the evolutionary origins of these microproteins in humans.
They found that 44 of the 155 novel genes were associated with growth defects in cell culture, demonstrating the importance of these genes for maintaining healthy living systems.
In addition, three of the new genes are disease-related DNA molecular markers associated with diseases such as muscular dystrophy and chromogenic retinitis.
In addition, they identified a new gene associated with heart tissue.
Subsequent researchers will further explore the functions of these microgenesis and whether they are associated with a particular disease.