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Science

Human Genome Contaminated With Mycoplasma DNA 123

KentuckyFC writes "The published human genome is contaminated with DNA sequences from mycoplasma bacteria, according to bioinformatics researchers who blame an epidemic of mycoplasma contamination in molecular biology labs around the world. The researchers say they've also found mycoplasma DNA in two commercially available human DNA chips made by biotech companies for measuring levels of human gene expression. So anybody using these chips to measure human gene expression is also unknowingly measuring mycoplasma gene expression too. The mycoplasma genes are clearly successful in reproducing themselves in silico raising the possibility that we're seeing the beginnings of an entirely new kind of landscape of infection. One option to combat this kind of virtual infection is to protect databases with the genomic version of antivirus software, a kind of virtual immune system. But this in itself could make things worse by triggering an evolutionary arms race that selects genes most capable of beating the safeguards."

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