Syed Akbar Hyderabad: Scientists at the city-based Centre for Cellular and MolecularBiology have unravelled the mystery that goes behind "proof reading", "editing", and"translation" of genetic information, giving a new insight into the process that causesdiseases including neurodegeneration. They have found out that diseases are caused when the mechanism of "proof reading" or"editing" the genetic code in the cells goes haywire and additional wrong information isadded during the process. "To put it in layman's language, it is like a copy editor not only failing to rectify theexisting errors, but also adding new errors to the copy. The scientific view held thusfar is that diseases are caused when the mechanism fails to rectify the errors. We havenow found that it not only fails to rectify the errors, but also adds more errors to thegenetic process involved," said senior scientist Dr Rajan Shankarnarayanan. The body has inherent internal checks to maintain the body functioning in good condition.Important mechanisms, which scientists call, "proof reading" or "editing", and"translation", take place inside the cells to produce proteins. "Proof reading" or"editing" is a natural process of correcting the errors during the formation of proteins,while "translation" involves the synthesis of protein. "Our study helps in finding out the secret behind the diseases, those linked to geneticsand neurodegeneration. It has given a new insight into the mechanism of discriminationduring proof reading in translation," he pointed out. Every individual possesses DNA, which carries genetic information. This genetic code ispassed on to the RNA through a process called transcription. RNA uses this information toprepare proteins by a method known as translation. Binding proteins in their right placeis done by what scientists called "proof reading", which also carries out the correction.Nature has programmed that this process is done in an accurate manner. "A high rate of accuracy is involved in the entire process. As any compromise in thewhole process leads to formation of defective proteins and thus causes a number ofdiseases. If the protein is wrong it will bind to a wrong amino acid, the building blocksof genetic information. Proof reading ensures that this wrong protein is eliminated. Butsometimes, it fails to eliminate the wrong protein, and also adds more errors to it," Dr Sankarnarayanan said. Proof-reading mechanisms play a crucial role in the faithful flowof information as dictated by the genetic code. Proof-readingoccurs at two important steps in the cell, one during DNA replication and another during translation, and is essential for the transfer of genetic information. The study opens up an interesting question on the fundamental mechanism of discrimination of cognate amino acids at the proof-reading step.