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Electron microscope image of budding yeast,
Saccharomyces cerevisiae. UC Berkeley
researchers insert variants of human enzymes
into yeast to see if these enzymes can be tuned
up with vitamins. (Credit: UC Berkeley)
Good News In Our DNA: Defects You Can Fix With
Vitamins And Minerals
ScienceDaily (Jun. 3, 2008) — As the cost of sequencing a single
human genome drops rapidly, with one company predicting a price
of $100 per person in five years, soon the only reason not to look
at your "personal genome" will be fear of what bad news lies in
University of California, Berkeley, scientists, however, have found
a welcome reason to delve into your genetic heritage: to find the
slight genetic flaws that can be fixed with remedies as simple as
vitamin or mineral supplements.
"I'm looking for the good news in the human genome," said Jasper
Rine, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology.
"Headlines for the last 20 years have really been about the triumph
of biomedical research in finding disease genes, which is
biologically interesting, genetically important and frightening to
people who get this information," Rine said. "I became obsessed
with trying to decide if there is some other class of information that
will make people want to look at their genome sequence."
What Rine and colleagues found and report in the online early
edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (PNAS) is that there are many genetic differences that
make people's enzymes less efficient than normal, and that simple supplementation with vitamins can often restore
some of these deficient enzymes to full working order.
First author Nicholas Marini, a UC Berkeley research scientist, noted that physicians prescribe vitamins to "cure"
many rare and potentially fatal metabolic defects caused by mutations in critical enzymes