A look at how Iranian scientists have contributed to global research involving DNA.
Iranian scientists have conducted considerable research involving Deoxyribo-nucleic Acid (DNA). The research conducted by some has brought them international fame. Just like scientists in fellow developing countries, the Iranian scientists’ work mostly has to do with decoding the DNA. The following is the translation of part of a report Zanan-e Emrooz (Today’s Women) weekly has run on the endeavors of Iranian researchers:
The important Iranian research involving DNA has probably been conducted by Arman Fathizadeh, a physicist at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, and his colleagues who have created a model showing how proteins move along DNA.
The problem is that until now, scientists did not clearly understand the physical mechanisms of how to open the book and read the genetic text contained in DNA. Dr. Fathizadeh and his colleagues have developed a basic computer model of the nucleosome which introduces flexible binding sites of the DNA to the protein core, and thus provides a more physical representation of the system. Their research was published in the European Physical Journal in March.
In another research, scientists at Isfahan University of Technology have developed a new technique to examine the destructive effects of elements, say metals, on DNA.
It allows scientists to develop an insight into how drugs work and what impact chemical and biological reactions leave on DNA. Pollution, anxiety, stress, etc. can lead to genetic mutations inside the body and eventually cause cancer. The new technique can help doctors identify the disease at an early stage and take more effective measures to halt its progression.
In yet another research, Iranian bacteriologists have made recombinant proteins in a bid to prevent urinary tract infections and developed a FimH vaccine.
Some studies have been carried out by Iranian scientists abroad, still they should be regarded as Iranian. For instance, Dr. Ali Khadem-Hosseini, a full professor at Harvard University, and his assistant Majid Sadoughi, have carried out research in the area of biomedical micro-devices and biomaterials.
Khadem-Hosseini has developed a number of methods for controlling the stem cell microenvironment using microscale devices and for engineering biomaterials to be used in tissue engineering.
It is worth noting that all human cells, except for red blood cells and plackets, contain DNA. The Iranian Legal Medicine Organization has set up a genetic identification bank which can be used in crime prevention, identification of people whose Alzheimer’s is at an advanced stage or those who have gone missing, and in inheritance- and immigration-related issues.