Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Potential Windfall from Nuclear Tinkering

A Science Daily article titled Location Matters, Even For Genes notes how a change in the location of a gene can affect gene expression. Specifically, moving an active gene from a cell nucleus interior to its periphery appears to inavtivate the gene. The related paper on which the story is based was published in the journal Nature. The significance to this lies in a potential to silence genes by preventing the transcription of them. This would occur when such genes are attached to the inner part of the nuclear membrane. This could become a form of treatment for medical maladies through manipulation of gene regulation. Such maladies could include cancer whose development has been, at times, associated with the malfunction of gene regulation.

Is there any significance for Intelligent design? Quite possibly. Enhanced capacities to regulate gene expression may prove useful in assessing ID concepts like irreducible complexity and front loading. Tinkering with cellular mechanisms can be a means of ascertaining the fitness value of constituent parts of a biological function. It could also indicate a hitherto unrealized hierarchical structure to biological development useful to a front loading perspective.

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