Science: Breaking the Genetic Law

Tiny creatures defy the DNA code

Ever since the genetic code was cracked in the 1960s, biologists have believed the language of DNA to be rather like the Latin of the medieval church: universal, fundamental and indispensable. It seemed that all creatures, from men to mice to humble E. coli bacteria, shared the same basic instructions for making proteins, the building blocks of life; variations among organisms were thought to involve only the number and type of proteins that are strung together. Now researchers in the U.S., Europe and Japan have found species + that defy certain words in the genetic scripture: in the familiar Paramecium, a...

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