Thursday, September 21, 2023

Stop smoking, keep walking, . . . and other stories


The human genome encodes approximately 20 000 proteins. Understandably enough, investigations have concentrated on genes and proteins whose function is known. However, the human “unknome,” the one fifth of human genes whose purpose remains mysterious, shouldn’t be ignored. Many of these genes are conserved across species. In experiments with fruit flies, removing one of these mystery genes caused the insects to die. The compilers of a new database of genes with unknown functions hope it will widen the focus of genetic research (PLoS Biol doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3002222).

Intermittent claudication

Thirty five years ago, an editorial in The BMJ summarised the treatment of intermittent claudication in five words: stop smoking and keep …

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