|Darwin's evolution challenged!
Quantitative assessment of DNA gain and loss through DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair processes suggests deletion-biased DSB repair causes ongoing genome shrinking in A. thaliana, whereas genome size in barley remained nearly constant.
The emergence of recombination-activating genes (RAGs) in jawed vertebrates endowed adaptive immune cells with the ability to assemble a diverse set of antigen receptor genes. Innate Natural Killer (NK) cells are unable to express RAGs or RAG endonuclease activity during ontogeny. They exhibit a cell-intrinsic hyperresponsiveness, but a diminished capacity to survive following virus-driven proliferation, a reduced expression of DNA damage response mediators, and defects in the repair of DNA breaks. However, RAG expression in uncommitted hematopoietic progenitors and NK cell precursors marks functionally distinct subsets of NK cells in the periphery, demonstrating a novel role for RAG in the functional specialization of the NK cell lineage.
The most active region of Human Chromosome 19 has a long history of recombinations that define the expression patterns of telomeric and centromeric proportions of Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) gene's encoding receptors. KIR's bind cells presenting MHC class 1 HLA haplotype combinations, that vary significantly across tissues in different population groups. Further, the deletion rate in Zinc Finger clusters (ZNF) located around 19q13.42, near KIR and C19MC between 51,012,739 and 55,620,741 are about twofold higher than the background deletion rate.
The relationship between deletions and mutation may indeed play a direct role in rapidly evolving, innate immunity. This may just begin to explain the speed at which global populations can respond and survive pandemics caused by the likes of COVID-19. And, the '19' in its nomenclature may go beyond time to the very chromosome responsible for innate immune diversity.