Here are the first five paragraphs ...
Pseudogenes, a subclass of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that developed from the human genome’s 20,000 protein-coding genes but has lost the ability to produce proteins, have long been considered nothing more than genomic "junk."There are many things wrong with that description but I'm not going to elaborate. If you don't know what's wrong you probably won't be interested in this post anyway.
Yet the retention of these 20,000 mysterious remnants during evolution suggests that they may in fact possess biological functions and contribute to the development of disease.
Now, a team led by investigators at Harvard Medical School and the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has provided some of the first evidence that one of these noncoding "evolutionary relics" actually has a role in causing cancer.
In a new study published in the journal Cell on April 2, the scientists report that, independent of any other mutations, abnormal amounts of the BRAF pseudogene led to the development of an aggressive lymphoma-like disease in a mouse model, a discovery suggesting that pseudogenes may play a primary role in a variety of diseases.
The new discovery also suggests that with the addition of this vast "dark matter" the functional genome could be tremendously larger than previously thought—three or four times its current known size.
I want to discuss two rules that should be enforced for every press release.
This press release did not contain a citation. In this case, the paper has been published online but there's no volume number or page number because it hasn't appeared in the journal. Here's the citation ...
- The press release must include the complete citation, including a link (doi). If This means delaying the press release for a day or two after the embargo is lifted then that's a small price to pay.
- The press release should always include a notice from at least one author affirming, in writing, that the press release is a complete and accurate report of the results and conclusions that have been published in the peer reviewed literature.
Florian A. Karreth, Markus Reschke, Anna Ruocco, Christopher Ng, Bjoern Chapuy, Valentine Léopold, Marcela Sjoberg, Thomas M. Keane, Akanksha Verma, Ugo Ala, Yvonne Tay, David Wu, Nina Seitzer, Martin Del Castillo Velasco-Herrera, Anne Bothmer, Jacqueline Fung, Fernanda Langellotto, Scott J. Rodig, Olivier Elemento, Margaret A. Shipp, David J. Adams, Roberto Chiarle, Pier Paolo Pandolfi (2015)The BRAF Pseudogene Functions as a Competitive Endogenous RNA and Induces Lymphoma In Vivo Cell published online April 2, 1015. [doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.043]There. That wasn't so hard, was it?
I can't read the paper because it's behind a paywall but the abstract suggests that the authors really do think their work applies to most pseduogenes. The press release quotes the senior author, Pier Paolo Pandolfi, and while his views aren't nearly as idiotic as the beginning of the press release it does suggest that he isn't a fan of junk DNA.
In order to confirm that the views expressed by Bonnie Prescott are an accurate representation of the views in the peer-reviewed paper, it would be nice to see a note at the bottom of the press release signed by multiple authors. It would state that they stand by the press release and that the views in the press release represent those views that have passed peer review.
I call this "Author Responsibility" and I think it should be a requirement in all press releases.
Hat Tip Dan Graur: Shouldn’t Press Releases from @Harvard be Less Asinine?