A Korean research team has discovered an important clue to understanding the creation of life.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced on Nov. 23 that a research team headed by Narry Kim, a professor of the department of biological sciences at Seoul National University and head of the RNA research team at the Institute for Basic Science, has successfully explained the workings of RNA in an early embryo.
Since the embryonic stem cells of animals cannot create RNA by themselves, they make a protein needed to maintain life out of RNA, which comes from the surrounding egg. The RNA slowly disappears in order for embryonic stem cells to grow, but this process has been unable to be identified.
The research team discovered a tail at the end of microRNA that originates from an egg, and which controls the amount of microRNA. In addition, they found that wispy, an enzyme that delivers nucleotides, is related to the process.
After experimenting with fruit flies, they identified that wispy modifies microRNA in an early embryo and causes it to be dissolved. They found that before a life begins, the amount of microRNA is controlled, which makes it possible to maintain life.
The research findings were first published online on Nov. 13 by Molecular Cell, a scientific journal published by Cell Press, and they are scheduled to be published in the December 4 issue.