Genomic DNA is bound by many proteins that could potentially impede elongation of RNA polymerase (RNAP), but the factors determining the magnitude of transcriptional roadblocking in vivo are poorly understood. Through systematic experiments and modeling, we analyse how roadblocking by the lac repressor (LacI) in Escherichia coli cells is controlled by promoter firing rate, the concentration and affinity of the roadblocker protein, the transcription-coupled repair protein Mfd, and promoter-roadblock spacing. Increased readthrough of the roadblock at higher RNAP fluxes requires active dislodgement of LacI by multiple RNAPs. However, this RNAP cooperation effect occurs only for strong promoters because roadblock-paused RNAP is quickly terminated by Mfd. The results are most consistent with a single RNAP also sometimes dislodging LacI, though we cannot exclude the possibility that a single RNAP reads through by waiting for spontaneous LacI dissociation. Reducing the occupancy of the roadblock site by increasing the LacI off-rate (weakening the operator) increased dislodgement strongly, giving a stronger effect on readthrough than decreasing the LacI on-rate (decreasing LacI concentration). Thus, protein binding kinetics can be tuned to maintain site occupation while reducing detrimental roadblocking.
A barrier for horizontal gene transfer is high gene expression, which is metabolically expensive. Silencing of horizontally-acquired genes in the bacterium Escherichia coli is caused by the global transcriptional repressor H-NS. The activity of H-NS is enhanced or diminished by other proteins including its homologue StpA, and Hha and YdgT. The interconnections of H-NS with these regulators and their role in silencing gene expression in E. coli are not well understood on a genomic scale. In this study, we use transcriptome sequencing to show that there is a bi-layered gene silencing system - involving the homologous H-NS and StpA - operating on horizontally-acquired genes among others. We show that H-NS-repressed genes belong to two types, termed "epistatic" and "unilateral". In the absence of H-NS, the expression of "epistatically controlled genes" is repressed by StpA, whereas that of "unilaterally controlled genes" is not. Epistatic genes show a higher tendency to be non-essential and recently acquired, when compared to unilateral genes. Epistatic genes reach much higher expression levels than unilateral genes in the absence of the silencing system. Finally, epistatic genes contain more high affinity H-NS binding motifs than unilateral genes. Therefore, both the DNA binding sites of H-NS as well as the function of StpA as a backup system might be selected for silencing highly transcribable genes.
The lactose operon of Escherichia coli is a paradigm system for quantitative understanding of gene regulation in prokaryotes. Yet, none of the many mathematical models built so far to study the dynamics of this system considered the fact that the Lac repressor regulates its own transcription by forming a transcriptional roadblock at the O3 operator site. Here we study the effect of autoregulation on intracellular LacI levels and also show that cAMP-CRP binding does not affect the efficiency of autoregulation. We built a mathematical model to study the role of LacI autoregulation in the lactose utilization system. Previously, it has been argued that negative autoregulation can significantly reduce noise as well as increase the speed of response. We show that the particular molecular mechanism, a transcriptional roadblock, used to achieve self-repression in the lac system does neither. Instead, LacI autoregulation balances two opposing states, one that allows quicker response to smaller pulses of external lactose, and the other that minimizes production costs in the absence of lactose.
Unraveling the structure of complex biological networks and relating it to their functional role is an important task in systems biology. Here we attempt to characterize the functional organization of the large-scale metabolic networks of three microorganisms. We apply flux balance analysis to study the optimal growth states of these organisms in different environments. By investigating the differential usage of reactions across flux patterns for different environments, we observe a striking bimodal distribution in the activity of reactions. Motivated by this, we propose a simple algorithm to decompose the metabolic network into three subnetworks. It turns out that our reaction classifier, which is blind to the biochemical role of pathways, leads to three functionally relevant subnetworks that correspond to input, output, and intermediate parts of the metabolic network with distinct structural characteristics. Our decomposition method unveils a functional bow-tie organization of metabolic networks that is different from the bow-tie structure determined by graph-theoretic methods that do not incorporate functionality.
Several studies have reported that interactions of mothers with preterm infants show differential characteristics compared to that of mothers with full-term infants. Interaction of preterm dyads is often reported as less harmonious. However, observations and explanations concerning the underlying mechanisms are inconsistent. In this work 30 preterm and 42 full-term mother-infant dyads were observed at one year of age. Free play interactions were videotaped and coded using a micro-analytic coding system. The video records were coded at one second resolution and studied by a novel approach using network analysis tools. The advantage of our approach is that it reveals the patterns of behavioral transitions in the interactions. We found that the most frequent behavioral transitions are the same in the two groups. However, we have identified several high and lower frequency transitions which occur significantly more often in the preterm or full-term group. Our analysis also suggests that the variability of behavioral transitions is significantly higher in the preterm group. This higher variability is mostly resulted from the diversity of transitions involving non-harmonious behaviors. We have identified a maladaptive pattern in the maternal behavior in the preterm group, involving intrusiveness and disengagement. Application of the approach reported in this paper to longitudinal data could elucidate whether these maladaptive maternal behavioral changes place the infant at risk for later emotional, cognitive and behavioral disturbance.
The Wnt signaling pathway transducing the stabilization of ?-catenin is essential for metazoan embryo development and is misregulated in many diseases such as cancers. In recent years models have been proposed for the Wnt signaling pathway during the segmentation process in developing embryos. Many of these include negative feedback loops where Axin2 plays a key role. However, Axin2 null mice show no segmentation phenotype. We therefore propose a new model where the negative feedback involves Dkk1 rather than Axin2. We show that this model can exhibit the same type of oscillations as the previous models with Axin2 and as observed in experiments. We show that a spatial Wnt gradient can consistently convert this temporal periodicity into the spatial periodicity of somites, provided the oscillations in new cells arising in the presomitic mesoderm are synchronized with the oscillations of older cells. We further investigate the hypothesis that a change in the Wnt level in the tail bud during the later stages of somitogenesis can lengthen the time period of the oscillations and hence the size and separation of the later somites.
Optimal response to environmental stimuli often requires activation of certain genes and repression of others. Dual function regulatory proteins play a key role in the differential regulation of gene expression. While repression can be achieved by any DNA binding protein through steric occlusion of RNA polymerase in the promoter region, activation often requires a surface on the regulatory protein to contact RNAP and thus facilitate transcription initiation. RNAP itself is also a DNA binding protein, therefore it can function as a transcriptional repressor. Searching the Escherichia coli promoter database we found that ?14% of the identified forward promoters overlap with a promoter oriented in the opposite direction. In this article we combine a mathematical model with experimental analysis of synthetic regulatory regions to investigate interference of overlapping promoters. We find that promoter interference depends on the characteristics of overlapping promoters. The model predicts that promoter strength and interference can be regulated separately, which provides unique opportunities for regulation. Our experimental data suggest that in principle any DNA binding protein can be used for both activation and repression of promoter transcription, depending on the context. These findings can be exploited in the construction of synthetic networks.
Waves propagating in "excitable media" is a reliable way to transmit signals in space. A fascinating example where living cells comprise such a medium is Dictyostelium D. which propagates waves of chemoattractant to attract distant cells. While neutrophils chemotax in a similar fashion as Dictyostelium D., it is unclear if chemoattractant waves exist in mammalian tissues and what mechanisms could propagate them.
Galactose is important for the survival and virulence of bacteria. In Escherichia coli, galactose is utilized by the Leloir pathway, which is controlled by a complex network. To shed light on the potential functions the galactose network could perform, we performed bioinformatical analysis of reference genome sequences belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family. We found that several genomes have reduced numbers of components compared to the E. coli galactose system, suggesting that the network can be optimized for different environments. Typically, genes are removed by deletions; however, in Yersinia pestis, the galactose mutarotase (galM) gene is inactivated by a single-base-pair deletion. Lack of GalM activity indicates that the two anomers of D-galactose are used for different purposes, ?-D-galactose as a carbon source and ?-D-galactose for induction of UDP-galactose synthesis for biosynthetic glycosylation. We demonstrate that activity of the galM gene can be restored by different single-base-pair insertions. During the evolution of Y. pestis to become a vector-transmitted systemic pathogen, many genes were converted to pseudogenes. It is not clear whether pseudogenes are present to maintain meiotrophism or are in the process of elimination. Our results suggest that the galM pseudogene has not been deleted because its reactivation may be beneficial in certain environments.
In the natural environment, bacterial cells have to adjust their metabolism to alterations in the availability of food sources. The order and timing of gene expression are crucial in these situations to produce an appropriate response. We used the galactose regulation in Escherichia coli as a model system for understanding how cells integrate information about food availability and cAMP levels to adjust the timing and intensity of gene expression. We simulated the feast-famine cycle of bacterial growth by diluting stationary phase cells in fresh medium containing galactose as the sole carbon source. We followed the activities of six promoters of the galactose system as cells grew on and ran out of galactose. We found that the cell responds to a decreasing external galactose level by increasing the internal galactose level, which is achieved by limiting galactose metabolism and increasing the expression of transporters. We show that the cell alters gene expression based primarily on the current state of the cell and not on monitoring the level of extracellular galactose in real time. Some decisions have longer term effects; therefore, the current state does subtly encode the history of food availability. In summary, our measurements of timing of gene expression in the galactose system suggest that the system has evolved to respond to environments where future galactose levels are unpredictable rather than regular feast and famine cycles.
Genes of prokaryotes and Archaea are often organized in cotranscribed groups, or operons. In contrast, eukaryotic genes are generally transcribed independently. Here we show that there is a substantial economic gain for the cell to cotranscribe genes encoding protein complexes because it synchronizes the fluctuations, or noise, in the levels of the different components. This correlation substantially reduces the shortfall in production of the complex. This benefit is relatively large in small cells such as bacterial cells, in which there are few mRNAs and proteins per cell, and is diminished in larger cells such as eukaryotic cells.
Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) that make reliable decisions should have design features to cope with random fluctuations in the levels or activities of biological molecules. The phage ? GRN makes a lysis-lysogeny decision informed by the number of phages infecting the cell. To analyse the design of decision making GRNs, we generated random in silico GRNs comprised of two or three transcriptional regulators and selected those able to perform a ?-like decision in the presence of noise. Various two-protein networks analogous to the ? CI-Cro GRN worked in noise-less conditions but failed when noise was introduced. Adding a ? CII-like protein significantly improved robustness to noise. CII relieves the CI-like protein of its decider function, allowing CI to be optimized as a decision maintainer. CIIs lysogenic decider function was improved by its instability and rapid removal once the decision was taken, preventing its interference with maintenance. A more reliable decision also resulted from simulated co-transcription of the genes for CII and the Cro-like protein, which correlates fluctuations in these opposing decider functions and makes their ratio less noisy. Thus, the ? decision network contains design features for reducing and resisting noise.
The p53 signalling pathway has hundreds of inputs and outputs. It can trigger cellular senescence, cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in response to diverse stress conditions, including DNA damage, hypoxia and nutrient deprivation. Signals from all these inputs are channeled through a single node, the transcription factor p53. Yet, the pathway is flexible enough to produce different downstream gene expression patterns in response to different stresses.
Gene regulatory networks are based on simple building blocks such as promoters, transcription factors (TFs) and their binding sites on DNA. But how diverse are the functions that can be obtained by different arrangements of promoters and TF binding sites? In this work we constructed synthetic regulatory regions using promoter elements and binding sites of two noninteracting TFs, each sensing a single environmental input signal. We show that simply by combining these three kinds of elements, we can obtain 11 of the 16 Boolean logic gates that integrate two environmental signals in vivo. Further, we demonstrate how combination of logic gates can result in new logic functions. Our results suggest that simple elements of transcription regulation form a highly flexible toolbox that can generate diverse functions under natural selection.
Oscillations are commonly observed in cellular behavior and span a wide range of timescales, from seconds in calcium signaling to 24 hours in circadian rhythms. In between lie oscillations with time periods of 1-5 hours seen in NF-?B, p53 and Wnt signaling, which play key roles in the immune system, cell growth/death and embryo development, respectively. In the first part of this article, we provide a brief overview of simple deterministic models of oscillations. In particular, we explain the mechanism of saturated degradation that has been used to model oscillations in the NF-?B, p53 and Wnt systems. The second part deals with the potential physiological role of oscillations. We use the simple models described earlier to explore whether oscillatory signals can encode more information than steady-state signals. We then discuss a few simple genetic circuits that could decode information stored in the average, amplitude or frequency of oscillations. The presence of frequency-detector circuit downstream of NF-?B or p53 would be a strong clue that oscillations are important for the physiological response of these signaling systems.
Many human diseases are associated with protein aggregation and fibrillation. We present experiments on in vitro glucagon fibrillation using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, providing real-time measurements of single-fibril growth. We find that amyloid fibrils grow in an intermittent fashion, with periods of growth followed by long pauses. The observed exponential distributions of stop and growth times support a Markovian model, in which fibrils shift between the two states with specific rates. Even if the individual rates vary considerably, we observe that the probability of being in the growing (stopping) state is very close to 1/4 (3/4) in all experiments.
We propose a model for the segmentation clock in vertebrate somitogenesis, based on the Wnt signaling pathway. The core of the model is a negative feedback loop centered around the Axin2 protein. Axin2 is activated by beta-catenin, which in turn is degraded by a complex of GSK3beta and Axin2. The model produces oscillatory states of the involved constituents with typical time periods of a few hours (ultradian oscillations). The oscillations are robust to changes in parameter values and are often spiky, where low concentration values of beta-catenin are interrupted by sharp peaks. Necessary for the oscillations is the saturated degradation of Axin2. Somite formation in chick and mouse embryos is controlled by a spatial Wnt gradient which we introduce in the model through a time-dependent decrease in Wnt3a ligand level. We find that the oscillations disappear as the ligand concentration decreases, in agreement with observations on embryos.
The function of living cells is controlled by complex regulatory networks that are built of a wide diversity of interacting molecular components. The sheer size and intricacy of molecular networks of even the simplest organisms are obstacles toward understanding network functionality. This review discusses the achievements and promise of a bottom-up approach that uses well-characterized subnetworks as model systems for understanding larger networks. It highlights the interplay between the structure, logic, and function of various types of small regulatory circuits. The bottom-up approach advocates understanding regulatory networks as a collection of entangled motifs. We therefore emphasize the potential of negative and positive feedback, as well as their combinations, to generate robust homeostasis, epigenetics, and oscillations.
Virulent phages and their bacterial hosts represent an unusual sort of predator-prey system where each time a prey is eaten, hundreds of new predators are born. It is puzzling how, despite the apparent effectiveness of the phage predators, they manage to avoid driving their bacterial prey to extinction. Here we consider a phage-bacterial ecosystem on a two-dimensional (2-d) surface and show that homogeneous space in itself enhances coexistence. We analyze different behavioral mechanisms that can facilitate coexistence in a spatial environment. For example, we find that when the latent times of the phage are allowed to evolve, selection favors "mediocre killers," since voracious phage rapidly deplete local resources and go extinct. Our model system thus emphasizes the differences between short-term proliferation and long-term ecosystem sustainability.
Phage lambda is among the simplest organisms that make a developmental decision. An infected bacterium goes either into the lytic state, where the phage particles rapidly replicate and eventually lyse the cell, or into a lysogenic state, where the phage goes dormant and replicates along with the cell. Experimental observations by P. Kourilsky are consistent with a single phage infection deterministically choosing lysis and double infection resulting in a stochastic choice. We argue that the phage are playing a "game" of minimizing the chance of extinction and that the shift from determinism to stochasticity is due to a shift from a single-player to a multiplayer game. Crucial to the argument is the clonal identity of the phage.
Small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in eukaryotes and bacteria play an important role in the regulation of gene expression either by binding to regulatory proteins or directly to target mRNAs. Two of the best-characterized bacterial sRNAs, Spot42 and RyhB, form a complementary pair with the ribosome binding region of their target mRNAs, thereby inhibiting translation or promoting mRNA degradation. To investigate the steady-state and dynamic potential of such sRNAs, we examine the 2 key parameters characterizing sRNA regulation: the capacity to overexpress the sRNA relative to its target mRNA and the speed at which the target mRNA is irreversibly inactivated. We demonstrate different methods to determine these 2 key parameters, for Spot42 and RyhB, which combine biochemical and genetic experiments with computational analysis. We have developed a mathematical model that describes the functional properties of sRNAs with various characteristic parameters. We observed that Spot42 and RyhB function in distinctive parameter regimes, which result in divergent mechanisms.
It has been reported that the number of transcription factors encoded in prokaryotic genomes scales approximately quadratically with their total number of genes. We propose a conceptual explanation of this finding and illustrate it using a simple model in which metabolic and regulatory networks of prokaryotes are shaped by horizontal gene transfer of coregulated metabolic pathways. Adapting to a new environmental condition monitored by a new transcription factor (e.g., learning to use another nutrient) involves both acquiring new enzymes and reusing some of the enzymes already encoded in the genome. As the repertoire of enzymes of an organism (its toolbox) grows larger, it can reuse its enzyme tools more often and thus needs to get fewer new ones to master each new task. From this observation, it logically follows that the number of functional tasks and their regulators increases faster than linearly with the total number of genes encoding enzymes. Genomes can also shrink, e.g., because of a loss of a nutrient from the environment, followed by deletion of its regulator and all enzymes that become redundant. We propose several simple models of network evolution elaborating on this toolbox argument and reproducing the empirically observed quadratic scaling. The distribution of lengths of pathway branches in our model agrees with that of the real-life metabolic network of Escherichia coli. Thus, our model provides a qualitative explanation for broad distributions of regulon sizes in prokaryotes.
We construct a hexagonal lattice of repressing genes, such that each node represses three of the neighbors, and use it as a model for genetic regulation in spatially extended systems. Using symmetry arguments and stability analysis we argue that the repressor lattice can be in a nonfrustrated oscillating state with only three distinct phases. If the system size is not commensurate with three, oscillating solutions of several different phases are possible. As the strength of the interactions between the nodes increases, the system undergoes many transitions, breaking several symmetries. Eventually dynamical frustrated states appear, where the temporal evolution is chaotic, even though there are no built-in frustrations. Applications of the repressor lattice to real biological systems are discussed.
Many transcription factors repress transcription of their own genes. Negative autoregulation has been shown to reduce cell-cell variation in regulatory protein levels and speed up the response time in gene networks. In this work we examined transcription regulation of the galS gene and the function of its product, the GalS protein. We observed a unique operator preference of the GalS protein characterized by dominant negative autoregulation. We show that this pattern of regulation limits the repression level of the target genes in steady states. We suggest that transcription factors with dominant negative autoregulation are designed for regulating gene expression during environmental transitions.
Transcription of many genes is regulated by combinations of multiple signals. In Escherichia coli, combinatorial control is typical in the case of operons related to utilization of different sugars in the absence of glucose. To understand regulation of the transport and metabolic pathways in the galactose system, we measured activities of the six gal regulon promoters simultaneously, using an in vitro transcription system containing purified components. Input functions were computed on the basis of the experimental measurements. We observed four different shapes of input functions. From the results, we can conclude that the structure of the regulatory network is insufficient for the determination of signal integration. It is the actual structure of the promoter and regulatory region, the mechanism of transcription regulation, and the interplay between transcription factors that shape the input function to be suitable for adaptation.
We formulate general rules for a coarse graining of the dynamics, which we term "symbolic dynamics," of feedback networks with monotonic interactions, such as most biological modules. Networks which are more complex than simple cyclic structures can exhibit multiple different symbolic dynamics. Nevertheless, we show several examples where the symbolic dynamics is dominated by a single pattern that is very robust to changes in parameters and is consistent with the dynamics being dictated by a single feedback loop. Our analysis provides a method for extracting these dominant loops from short time series, even if they only show transient trajectories.
Proper cellular function requires uptake of small molecules from the environment. In response to changes in extracellular conditions cells alter the import and utilization of small molecules. For a wide variety of small molecules the cellular response is regulated by a network motif that combines two feedback loops, one which regulates the transport and the other which regulates the subsequent metabolism.
In many developing tissues, neighboring cells enter different developmental pathways, resulting in a fine-grained pattern of different cell states. The most common mechanism that generates such patterns is lateral inhibition, for example through Delta-Notch coupling. In this work, we simulate growth of tissues consisting of a hexagonal arrangement of cells laterally inhibiting their neighbors. We find that tissue growth by cell division and cell migration tends to produce ordered patterns, whereas lateral growth leads to disordered, patchy patterns. Ordered patterns are very robust to mutations (gene silencing or activation) in single cells. In contrast, mutation in a cell of a disordered tissue can produce a larger and more widespread perturbation of the pattern. In tissues where ordered and disordered patches coexist, the perturbations spread mostly at boundaries between patches. If cell division occurs on time scales faster than the degradation time, disordered patches will appear. Our work suggests that careful experimental characterization of the disorder in tissues could pinpoint where and how the tissue is susceptible to large-scale damage even from single cell mutations.
As a model for cell-to-cell communication in biological tissues, we construct repressor lattices by repeating a regulatory three-node motif on a hexagonal structure. Local interactions can be unidirectional, where a node either represses or activates a neighbor that does not communicate backwards. Alternatively, they can be bidirectional where two neighboring nodes communicate with each other. In the unidirectional case, we perform stability analyses for the transitions from stationary to oscillating states in lattices with different regulatory units. In the bidirectional case, we investigate transitions from oscillating states to ordered patterns generated by local switches. Finally, we show how such stable patterns in two-dimensional lattices can be generalized to three-dimensional systems.
Bacteriophage are voracious predators of bacteria and a major determinant in shaping bacterial life strategies. Many phage species are virulent, meaning that infection leads to certain death of the host and immediate release of a large batch of phage progeny. Despite this apparent voraciousness, bacteria have stably coexisted with virulent phages for eons. Here, using individual-based stochastic spatial models, we study the conditions for achieving coexistence on the edge between two habitats, one of which is a bacterial refuge with conditions hostile to phage whereas the other is phage friendly. We show how bacterial density-dependent, or quorum-sensing, mechanisms such as the formation of biofilm can produce such refuges and edges in a self-organized manner. Coexistence on these edges exhibits the following properties, all of which are observed in real phage-bacteria ecosystems but difficult to achieve together in nonspatial ecosystem models: (i) highly efficient virulent phage with relatively long lifetimes, high infection rates and large burst sizes; (ii) large, stable, and high-density populations of phage and bacteria; (iii) a fast turnover of both phage and bacteria; and (iv) stability over evolutionary timescales despite imbalances in the rates of phage vs. bacterial evolution.
We analyze a class of network motifs in which a short, two-node positive feedback motif is inserted in a three-node negative feedback loop. We demonstrate that such networks can undergo a bifurcation to a state where a stable fixed point and a stable limit cycle coexist. At the bifurcation point the period of the oscillations diverges. Further, intrinsic noise can make the system switch between oscillatory state and the stationary state spontaneously. We find that this switching also occurs in previous models of circadian clocks that use this combination of positive and negative feedbacks. Our results suggest that real-life circadian systems may need specific regulation to prevent or minimize such switching events.
Inflammatory responses in eucaryotic cells are often associated with oscillations in the nuclear-cytoplasmic translocation of the transcription factor NF-kB. In most laboratory realizations, the oscillations are triggered by a cytokine stimulus. We use a mathematical model to show that an oscillatory external stimulus can synchronize the NF-kB oscillations into states where the ratios of the internal to external frequency are close to rational numbers. We predict a response diagram of the TNF-driven NF-kB system which exhibits bands of synchronization known as "Arnold tongues". We suggest that when the amplitude of the external stimulus exceeds a certain threshold, chaotic dynamics of the nuclear NF-kB concentration may occur. This behavior seems independent of the shape of the external oscillation and the non-linearities transducing this signal.
DNA methytransferases (MTs) in bacteria are best understood in the context of restriction-modification (R-M) systems, which act as bacterial immune systems against incoming DNA including phages, but have also been described as selfish elements. But several orphan MTs, which are not associated with any restriction enzyme, have also been characterized and may protect against parasitism by R-M systems. The occurrence of MTs in these two contexts, namely as part of R-M systems or as orphans, is poorly understood. Here we report the results of a comparative genomic survey of DNA MTs across ?1000 bacterial genomes. We show that orphan MTs overwhelm R-M systems in their occurrence. In general, R-M MTs are poorly conserved, whereas orphans are nearly as conserved within a genus as any average gene. However, oligonucleotide usage and conservation patterns across genera suggest that both forms of MTs might have been horizontally acquired. We suggest that many orphan MTs might be degradation products of R-M systems, based on the properties of orphan MTs encoded adjacent to highly diverged REs. In addition, several fully degraded R-M systems exist in which both the MT and the RE are highly divergent from their corresponding reference R-M pair. Despite their sporadic occurrence, conserved R-M systems are present in strength in two highly transformable genera, in which they may contribute to selection against integration of foreign DNA.
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