Grandmother: Dr. Abdul Hafeez Yahya Khoja
Inside each cell of each living being there is a detailed map of all its characteristics, inherited from it by its children, and it is similar to the catalog (i.e. the illustrated brochure) that accompanies the devices, and usually includes descriptive information for this product, its installation mechanism, the faults it is exposed to, and how to maintain and repair it.
This catalog is also similar to the computer software that operates devices, maintains their stability and balance, and performs their functions with extreme precision … It is the double helix represented by the DNA that carries this map, and carries many of the secrets of life.
The double helix
What is the story of the double helix? In the “Your Health” appendix, we hosted one of the specialists in the field of biotechnology, Dr. Tarek Kabil, assistant professor of biotechnology at the Faculties of Science and Arts – Al-Baha University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and a professor at the Faculty of Science – Cairo University in Egypt – to tell us the story of the double helix and some of its secrets.
Dr. Cain explained that the events of this story begin in 1928 when the first recognition that DNA is the material of heredity, after a famous experiment conducted by the scientist “Frederick Griffith”, indicated that there is a “substance” that can change the genetic makeup of bacteria. Then it was verified that this material was the DNA in 1944 by two American scientists, “Oswald Avery” and “Colin McLeod”. Several other experiments were conducted after that, all of which proved that the DNA is the DNA that carries the genetic characteristics.
In 1953 the molecular structure of DNA was discovered; Where the two scientists James Watson and Francis Crick developed a DNA model called the “double helix”, and published the news of the discovery in a scientific article, known as a “letter” by the name of “Watson and Crick” in the scientific journal “Nature” in Issue of April 25, 1953. It is interesting that they did not conduct any practical experiment, nor did they carry a single test tube to reach this exciting discovery, but they developed their model based on the data provided by researchers in the laboratories of the University of “Cambridge” for 3 years.
This data revealed the molecular structure of DNA, and Watson and Crick built their model of DNA after only two weeks of obtaining the images. By discovering the fact that DNA molecules are made of a double spiral, similar to a twisted ladder, they show how DNA can replicate itself.
Two years after the discovery of DNA, Arthur Kornberg was investigating the potential to copy DNA for himself. In 1960, Marshall Nurnberg, Har Khulana and Severo Aqua were able to verify that 3 of the four letters of DNA represented a symbol for amino acids.
In the seventies, scientists were able to recognize the letters of DNA, then they were able to cut and paste parts of the DNA, and then they were able to copy it.
In 1983, the American scientist, Carrie Molise, was able to develop a method for cloning thousands of copies of DNA; Which laid the foundations for modern genetic engineering. Scientists’ research culminated at the end of the twentieth century with the study of genome sequences (the entire genetic content of an organism), and in the mid-2000s the human genome was decoded.
The initial version of the Human Genome Project was completed in early 2001. With great fanfare. Since that date, competition and frantic race began for scientific centers and biotechnology companies to use the output of the human genome to diagnose genetic diseases and search for drugs that work on the level of genes and their composition.
By September 2007, the complete genome sequence of 1,879 viruses, 577 bacteria and 23 eukaryotes had been identified. In the same year 2007, the end of the Human Genome Project was announced.
Professor of Biotechnology, Dr. Tariq Qabil, continues to say that the DNA molecule consists of two strips that are wound around each other in a clockwise direction, around one axis. One is facing up and the other is facing down, in the form of a double spiral staircase.
Each strand is a strand of chemical units called nucleotides. The nuclides of four classes differ only in the type of nitrogenous base. These nitrogenous bases are: “Adenin”, “Thymine”, “Cytocine” and “Guanin”. These bases form pairs; The base “adenine” is always related to “thymine”, while “guanine” is related to “cytosine.”
The bases are distributed in order of the double helix; There are only 10 pairs per turn of a double helix. The rules constitute genetic words and phrases that preserve the genetic information of an organism from germination to death, in the form of genes, and each group of three letters corresponds to one amino acid.
Recent studies have revealed that the double helix has amazing properties, especially in the relationship between structure and function, and if the DNA strand present in any human cell is extended, it will be two meters long. And if all the DNA molecules of the human body are put together from the ends of their ends; They may reach the sun and bounce more than 600 times.
Promising medical revolution
• Human resemblance. Studies have confirmed that humans are the same at about 99.9 percent of the DNA level. Despite that, DNA is the largest measure to distinguish individuals, and for this reason, scientists thought to create a database of nucleic acids used in the analysis of diseases and medical studies, and genetic fingerprints by recording DNA profiles. It is useful in studies of some diseases and their relationship to genes, thus finding some new drugs or effective treatments to control these diseases.
• Digital data storage. One gram of DNA stores information as much as a thousand billion computer disks, and can accomplish 2 x 1910 connections per joule at room temperature, noting that the current best computers perform only 910 operations per joule, and that the maximum What cannot be exceeded thermodynamically is 34 x 1910 operations per joule.
The information in DNA can fill in a stack of books up to 60 meters high or 200 phonebooks, each of 500 pages.
And researchers at the University of New South Wales have shown that storing data in DNA is possible. It is now possible to preserve the heritage of humanity as a whole, with better storage in databases made of DNA.
As the innovators point out, the technology may already be economically viable and attractive to some government archives, and scientific projects that generate massive amounts of important and large-scale data such as experiments in particle physics, astronomy and medicine.
The Saudi genome The Saudi Genome
Project is the first map of the genetic characteristics and characteristics of Arabs in the Middle East and the Arab and Islamic worlds, which detects and identifies genetic mutations that cause genetic diseases in Saudi society, and documents the first genetic map, which will lead to reducing the costs of health care.
The project aims to establish a national database on infectious diseases in the Kingdom, and to develop an integrated interactive information system that contributes to limiting the spread of common genetic diseases in the Saudi society. All project outputs will directly benefit the community, in line with the NTP goals and 2030 vision.
The past years have witnessed a great scientific revolution in biotechnology that has led to the availability of vast amounts of information about the structures and functions of micro-cellular and biological components, especially DNA and proteins. This information was mainly represented by chains of nucleic and amino acids, genetic maps (genomes) of living organisms, and three-dimensional structures of protein. This revolution was accompanied by a great development in the field of informatics, which led to the merging of most of these technologies together to analyze that big data and reach many scientific solutions that led to the revolution of many scientific and industrial sectors and to decipher the ambiguity of many buried scientific secrets.
New science and applications
> Medical applications. Scientists have been greatly interested in medical applications, given that a better understanding of how genes are organized and their role in the cell and in the evolution of organisms opens the door to designing treatments that fit the human genetic characteristics, and the discovered genetic information formed the basis for designing many drugs and their components.
In exchange for this large information flow, scientists faced a challenge represented in finding ways to search for and search for specific information, in a fast and efficient way, and finding the required information became like trying to find a needle in a pile of hay.
New science. The development in knowledge required the emergence of a new science, bioinformatics, a science that integrates computers with mathematics and genomics, and deals with the cell and DNA as if it were a computer. This science also aims to search for information in a huge amount of data to reach the secrets in our genetic traits, and a deeper understanding of how these components interact inside and outside the cell of the organism, in the various conditions that it faces in the state of health and disease.
Many other modern sciences have emerged with a close relationship to DNA, the most important of which are: biology computing, biomathematics, genomics and proteomics, which is concerned with studying proteins resulting from genes, their structures and interaction, and other new emerging sciences that are used in the discovery and development of medicinal drugs.
* The era of gene editing. Gene editing is a major medical breakthrough that leads to the ability of humans to massively intervene in genes and control DNA to treat incurable diseases. Gene editing techniques aim to “rewrite the genetic material” of any living organism. Scientists have used CRISPR technology to modify the genetics of living organisms, and the most important goals of genetic editing (or cutting) are the treatment of diseases intractable to modern medicine such as AIDS, viral hepatitis and beta-thalassemia. The CRISPR technology works as a genetic scalpel that cuts a patient’s DNA, targeting and repairing genes that pose a potential risk of disease. This method may make some specific diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, sickle cell disease and some forms of cancer, a thing of the past. While conventional treatments for chronic diseases usually only encounter symptoms, this innovative method provides the potential for a complete cure by attacking the disease at the source. There are also many emerging sciences that take advantage of these unprecedented technological revolutions whose efficiency is increasing day by day, which will have many scientific implications and herald a comprehensive medical revolution in the fields of diagnosis and treatment. And the implications of discovering the secrets of the double helix continue.