“Junk” DNA can trigger addiction

The human body is designed in such a way that certain substances can cause strong dependence. And, in addition to studied data on the impact of psychostimulants on various neurotransmitters and functions of the Central nervous system, according to the statement of experts of the University of Oxford and University of Athens, in the mechanisms of formation of dependence can be guilty of our DNA. Moreover, it is that part which, as previously thought, has little effect on human development. Namely, the so-called “junk” DNA and its plot, which went to the man many millions of years ago from ancient viruses.

According to the publication of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, mechanisms of development of dependence plays the role of a fragment НК2. According to statistics, the bearers of this fragment are 5-10% of the population. While among drug users the percentage of native speakers of the fragment НК2 reaches 30%. But more interesting is the origin of this DNA segment.

As you know, the human genome is composed of a huge number of fragments of DNA that came from retroviruses. Some representatives of this species can transfer its genetic material to the medium, thereby mixing with his DNA. But the human body has developed a protection system against such “intrusion”, just “translating” the virus particles in those fragments, which are not read in the process of life. They along with “unnecessary” genes and make the most of “junk” RNA. So, by studying the origin НК2, the researchers came to the conclusion that “useless” sites all the same have an impact on human development. As stated by one of the authors of the study Dr. Gkikas Magiorkinis,

“We have received convincing evidence that human retroviruses can be more dangerous than it seems. НК2 has a very long history. Discovered in the ancient retroviruses НК2 played a vital role that leads to the conclusion that НК2 long been “infiltrated” in our DNA and we can only guess how many more mysteries are hidden in our genome. Of course, the very existence of НК2 does not make one dependent, but this piece is one of the precipitating factors and its media need to be extremely careful.”

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