ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Scientists have discovered a new use for ancient dinosaur DNA – a treatment for gout.
Gout, which historically is known as “the disease of kings,” often presents itself as a red, tender, hot, swollen joint; usually around the base of the big toe.
Scientists were able to build a backwards timeline by comparing the differences in DNA sequences between modern mammals to ancient ones. They were able to resurrect a prehistoric protein by putting the DNA into E. coli that translated ancient DNA into protein.
The scientists tested how well the protein worked in getting rid of the uric acid build up. The oldest one worked best, and the oldest one they had was 90 million years old; which was when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
It is possible to resurrect viruses that are hidden in our DNA. According to Discover Magazine, 8 percent of human DNA comes from viruses. That study went on to say that the initial viruses were inserted into our DNA sequences, where some have remained as molecular fossils. Scientists were then able to dig up this DNA and resurrect the virus for the study.
According to the earlier study, a patent on the ancient protein has been filed and a company has started to make the drug. They are currently waiting for FDA approval.
“I wish them success, but I suspect I may not be around to witness approval of their drug,” Eric Gaucher, a scientist from the Georgia Institute of Technology told National Geographic.
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