Thursday, January 28, 2021

DNA vs mRNA for Genealogists

DNA is still at the forefront of family historians. The use of DNA for investigative and family lineage, and medical / genetic genealogy is a daily tool to identify and advance our family lineage. We already know the language (CGAT, CGAT. CGAT, etc); we know how to use tools to discern answers, when possible, we already have our favorite database tools. We love it.  

And then the world falls in love with little brother mRNA. Yes, we knew messenger mRNA existed; but only in the shadows of our mind. Remember that one course? It appears mRNA has become the Covid19 Hero.  For genealogists that's like saying Robin's importance surpassed that of Batman.  

So to give mRNA respect, the a3Genealogy team thought we'd post the above video. As you review the video we also have provided a few key tips that will accelerate your mRNA street cred: 
DNA vs RNA - Similarities and Differences
  1. DNA is the acronym for Deoxyribonucleic Acid; mRNA is messenger Ribonucleic Acid. Both are nucleic acids; but yet, not the same. I suggest looking up the difference of deoxyribose vs. ribose. My rudimentary understanding is for the purpose of genealogy and interest in medical science. I would have to talk about tRNA, rRNA, and miRNA / siRNA, etc. which is out of the scope for this blog.

  2. DNA as we are accustomed of seeing is a double-stranded DNA; RNA is a single stranded module

  3. DNA transcription, ais through the nucleotide bases CGAT; RNA translation CGAU.  So this is the explanation we like: "DNA encodes your genes, RNA job is to instruct how those genes get expressed. RNA reads DNA. And so it is!

  4. When talking about the Covid-19 vaccines a subtype of RNA - mRNA or messenger RNA - is what carries the DNA information to create proteins. The proteins (instruction to cell) is what makes changes in the body via (in our pandemic case) vaccines. Yes, that is simplified, but I'm not attempting a dissertation or medical paper.  

Covid-19 mRNA Vaccine
Bless their hearts.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a whole gob of information on the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine.  But, they failed to put in pictures.  We need pictures (with bright colors, I might add). So let me summarize: 

The Conversation

mRNA vaccines provide instruction to our cells for making a protein.  This protein triggers an immune response that promotes the development of antibodies. So now with the instruction already in our bodies, the antibodies protects us from getting infected should "the real virus enter our bodies" (CDC). 

MIH Director's Blog

Since it's only the instruction, this is harmless to our DNA. Actually mRNA can't even combine with our DNA to change the genetic code. Plus, it's short lived. It's a "messenger," that hangs around for about 72 hours before being degraded. (Article)

Quick Vaccine?
By the way, the reason the mRNA vaccines were quicker to develop and test is because scientists already knew how to manipulate the instructions. The flow from DNA transcription to manipulating mRNA to form the protein needed for a vaccine had already been explored. This process and the development of mRNA vaccines had already been studied for cancer, rabies, and ways to trigger the immune system. what was needed for the Covid - 19 was to target the vaccine instructional detail for this pandemic virus.  

Rudimentary, yes. But this is DNA - mRNA for Genealogists! Follow us also at the DNA for Genealogists Flipboard page.  
(Please advise if there are any errors).  

Be Historically Correct  

Kathleen Brandt 

No comments:

Post a Comment