Electric pulses scan for mutations, according to a report in New Scientist , 18 Oct 2003, p10. All cells have a group of proteins that constantly survey their DNA looking for mutations and repairing them. Some repair proteins are known to move along DNA strands checking each base-pair, but this is too slow a process to prevent mutations from building up if it was the only way of checking for mutations.

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (USA) noticed that DNA that had been damaged would not allow electrons to flow along the strand. They started using the change in electrical conductivity to look for damaged DNA in their lab so they decided to test the DNA repair proteins to see if they could send electrons along DNA strands. They found an iron sulphur cluster found in many DNA repair proteins that is able to do this.

The scientists believe repair proteins can quickly test lengths of DNA by sending electrons along DNA strands between two repair proteins. If the electrons are blocked, the enzymes know there is damage somewhere between the two proteins and will move along that segment and check each base pair for mismatches. If the electrons flow freely the repair proteins can move to another segment and test it, making surveillance of DNA much quicker.

Editorial Comment: Mutations are considered to be means by which DNA evolves, but this research is further proof that DNA was designed to not evolve. The whole point of the surveillance and repair mechanisms found in all cells is to prevent mutations, i.e. prevent the information stored on DNA from being changed. The fact that some DNA changes escape DNA repair indicates that DNA is being damaged faster than repair mechanisms can keep up. But, the end result is not evolution - it is degeneration and only leads to disease and death. Readers are invited to submit any known "mutations" which are exceptions to this. (Ref. DNA, proteins, mutation)


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