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Sex guarantees disease-free life in offspring

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Feb 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Montreal, February 18: The more we have sex, the more we avoid bad genetic mutations leading to less chances of developing diseases in offspring over time, finds an interesting study. Researchers from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre in Cada have revealed how humanity’s predispositions to disease gradually decrease the more we mix our genetic material together through sexual reproduction. “This discovery gives us a better understanding of how we, as humans, become more or less at risk of developing or contracting diseases,” said study leader Philip Awadalla from the University of Montreal.

“It also tells scientists more precisely where to look in the human genome to find disease-ebling mutations which should speed up the discovery and identification of mutations associated with specific diseases,” he added.

More specifically, the team discovered that the segments of the human genome that do not recombine carry a significantly greater proportion of the more disease-ebling genetic mutations. Until chromosome recombition eventually occurs, these segments accumulate more and more bad mutations. In other words, as far as susceptibility to disease is concerned, our genetic material actually worsens before it gets better. “Thankfully, disease-ebling mutations are eventually shuffled off our genetic code through sexual reproduction. But since these mutations rest on less dymic segments of our genome, the process can potentially take many hundreds of generations,” Awadalla explained. This discovery was made possible by the availability in recent years of repositories of biological samples and genetic data from different populations around the globe.

Awadalla and his team studied the sequenced genomes of hundreds of individuals from Cada’s CARTaGENE genetic data repository and the multitiol 1,000 Genomes Project. They found that the proportion of mutations associated with disease was significantly higher in low-recombining segments known as “coldspots” relative to highly-recombining regions. The bad mutations in these “coldspots” were generally more damaging than the mutations in the highly recombining segments. “Researchers and health authorities will be able to apply this new information to develop more effective treatments and prevention programmes,” Awadalla added. (IANS)

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