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Biotech Medicine

How a Key Enzyme Repairs Sun-Damaged DNA 97

BraveHeart writes "Researchers have long known that mammals, including humans, lack a key enzyme — one possessed by most of the animal kingdom and even plants — that reverses severe sun damage. For the first time, researchers have witnessed how this enzyme works at the atomic level to repair sun-damaged DNA. 'Normal sunscreen lotions convert UV light to heat, or reflect it away from our skin. A sunscreen containing photolyase could potentially heal some of the damage from UV rays that get through.'"
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How a Key Enzyme Repairs Sun-Damaged DNA

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  • Other DNA damage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kombipom ( 1274672 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:20AM (#33041548) Journal

    Any reason why this couldn't be used to repair damage from other forms of radiation or carcinogens?

  • by GospelHead821 ( 466923 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @04:44AM (#33041682)

    Cancer is a disease that affects organisms late in life. Generally speaking, they will have already had an opportunity to reproduce by the time that they develop cancer. The introduction of this mutation could have been completely coincidental and it would not have affected the reproductive fitness of the organisms that had it. You might suggest that damage to DNA has consequences besides cancer but it actually doesn't, really. If a cell's DNA becomes too corrupt but the cell doesn't become cancerous as a result, just that one cell is likely to die. You're constantly making new skin cells anyway.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@@@got...net> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @05:05AM (#33041776) Journal

    Things come and go for reasons other than natural selection... which is why such theories as punctuated equilibrium have such importance. Most human beings have an amazingly similar genetic makeup. We also have an unusually high number of genetic diseases. Both of these facts are due to the very high probability that our species almost went extinct about 27,000 years ago, and that there may have been fewer than 1,000 individuals left on the planet. This would have resulted in a tremendous loss of genetic diversity, and many interesting human traits may well have disappeared... and the only determining factor was those who were furthest from the cataclysm and had enough resources to survive the aftermath... in short... LUCK.

  • by Wdi ( 142463 ) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @08:38AM (#33042962)

    a sunscreen with enough chemicals added to allow any photolyase molecules from the lotion to permeate into my damaged skin cells.

    Any large proteins just slapped onto the skin just stay there, and have no perceivable effect (assuming absence of active transport mechanisms, attack to the cell membrane, etc., which I can confidently exclude in this case).

    If you add permeation helpers to destabilize the skin cell membranes sufficiently to allow uptake into the cells, the stuff gets so nasty that any positive effects will certainly far be outweighed by negative side effects.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:23PM (#33046556) Homepage Journal

    You seem to be as ignorant of yoga and meditation as I am of ways to enhance libido and the benefits of flax seed. I was prescribed Hatha Yoga by a medical doctor back in 1975 for arthritis (hatha yoga stretches the joints), and I found that hatha yoga and prana yoga will indeed get rid of a lingering cough after the flu or a cold. I don't remember the name of the yoga that involves meditation, but I assure you that there are many, many benefits. You might want to look at some research on yoga and meditation before dismissing them out of hand.

    As I said, I have no idea whether the other two articles are useful or bullshit, but without actually reading the articles you mentioned I'm pretty confident that the two about yoga are not, in fact, bullshit.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford