Circular RNAs Increase Cell Bio-Complexity | The Institute for Creation Research

Circular RNAs Increase Cell Bio-Complexity

If the regulatory picture of the genome was not complicated enough, now scientists have discovered yet one more amazing level of bio-complexity that involves a whole new class of molecules in the form of RNA hoops, or circles—the results just published in several new Nature papers.1, 2 In fact, the findings were so startling that one of the lead authors commented the molecules formed "a hidden, parallel universe" where many new types and functions remain to be discovered.3

Early in the molecular biology revolution, researchers discovered a class of functional molecules in the genome called "non-coding RNAs," meaning they do not provide a template for making proteins. The first discovered forms of these molecules were found to be involved in manufacturing proteins, and were called "transfer" and "ribosomal" RNAs. Now scientists have added many more categories of non-coding RNAs to the mix—some are very short and others are quite long. Many of these new types of RNAs are regulatory in nature and known to be key players in controlling how genes are expressed and controlled in the cell.

The latest addition to this startling array of RNA molecules is truly amazing. Most non-coding RNAs are linear while others become integrated into various protein structures. However, this newly characterized type forms loops and circles and are encoded by DNA information that, in many cases, actually overlaps with protein-coding genes. Thus, they represent a completely separate layer of information overlaid in the same code with genes. In fact, many other types of regulatory RNAs are also coded into the same DNA space on chromosomes as the protein-coding genes themselves. It is now clear that individual genes actually contain many different levels of genetic information; a phenomenon that gradualistic evolution simply cannot account for.

In their evolutionary mindset, scientists first thought that these circular RNAs were genetic accidents or experimental artifacts. However, errant evolutionary hypotheses have once again been destroyed in the light of new discovery.

It is now certain that circular RNAs are important functional components of gene regulation, and there are different categories of circular RNAs. One of the new categories just discovered acts as complex molecular sponges that bind and regulate other types of RNA.1

One prominent molecular biologist, Erik Sontheimer, proclaimed in an interview with Nature editors over the discovery, "You just wonder when these surprises are going to stop."3 The answer is, they probably won't—because scientists have only begun to scratch the surface in discovering the complexity of the cell which has been engineered by an omnipotent and all-powerful Creator.

References

  1. Hansen, T.B., et al. 2013. Natural RNA circles function as efficient microRNA sponges. Nature, 495 (7441): 384-388. Posted on www.nature.com on March 21, 2013, accessed on March 19, 2012. 
  2. Memczak, S., et al. 2013. Circular RNAs are a large class of animal RNAs with regulatory potency, Nature, 495 (7441): 333-338. Posted on www.nature.com on March 21, 2013, accessed on March 19, 2012. 
  3. Ledford, H. 2013. Circular RNAs throw genetics for a loop. Nature, 494 (7438): 415. Posted on www.nature.com on February 28, 2013, accessed on March 19, 2012. 

Image credit: Vossman 

*Dr. Tomkins is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Clemson University.

Article posted on April 5, 2013.

The Latest
NEWS
Comet Now Visible to the Naked Eye
Stargazers have been disappointed earlier this year by comets ATLAS and SWAN, which disintegrated before they could put on good celestial shows. But another...

NEWS
Saharan Dust Cloud Strikes United States
Recently, the southeastern United States was hit by a huge cloud of dust from the Sahara desert that drifted across the Atlantic Ocean. A second such cloud...

NEWS
Seals Help Swedes to Chart ‘Paths of the Seas’
Swedish researchers have recently reported some newly documented “paths of the seas”1,2 thanks to some helpful (and high-tech) Weddell...

NEWS
Design Principles Confer Optimal Light Harvesting in Plants
Photosynthesis in plants starts with the absorption of light energy from sunlight, but scientists have been baffled as to how plants utilize the noisy...

NEWS
Titan Receding from Saturn Faster than Expected
Data obtained from the Cassini space probe show that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is receding away from Saturn a hundred times faster than scientists...

NEWS
Evolutionists Struggle to Explain Canadian-Australian Connection
A new species of a split-footed lacewing was recently unearthed in British Columbia, Canada, creating a bit of controversy among secular paleontologists.1...

NEWS
Surveillance Tracing: Red Pandas in Himalayan Nepal
It’s tough to be a red panda in this fallen world, especially after the global Flood. Conservationists are satellite tracking red pandas in...

NEWS
Maine Lobsters Make International News
The life of a Maine lobster is mostly a matter of crawling around on muddy continental shelf seafloors, not far from a coastline. Benthic scavenging is...

NEWS
Should We Grouse About Not Seeing Grouse?
A recent report in Chesapeake Bay Journal laments the decline in ruffed grouse populations in the Chesapeake watershed region of its natural range. Ruffed...

NEWS
Meet Dr. G: Roller Skating, Evangelism, and a Changed Life
Have you heard the news? ICR’s Board of Trustees recently appointed Dr. Randy Guliuzza to be ICR’s new President & Chief Operating Officer....