Why is RAN-translation important? It opens a window to a new field of study. An important window. There have been mumblings about "aberrant" peptides that are generated by our cells. Of course, they are passed off as unimportant. After all, if something does not adhere to the central dogma:
DNA->RNA->Proteinit cannot be real/important/possible/likely/useful (pick your favorite word).
What is wrong with scientists? It seems as though there is a great population of scientists who cannot think outside of the core classes they took as undergrads or graduate students. I am always puzzled. In a discipline with a history of searching for the novel, the current "research-leaders" shun the brilliant observations and celebrate the popular studies. Of course, as a scientist, it is as much my responsibility to highlight good science as it is to recognize the bad. On that note: here is another paper on C9ORF72 ALS-FTD, this time from the Ranum lab. Because it is from a veteran repeat-expansion disease lab, there is actual analysis of the sense and antisense transcripts. Note: while my work on the antisense transcript at the C9ORF72 locus is still not published, I will point out that I have different results. Of course, I am fairly sure I know why and I am looking forward to addressing the question myself.
Laura's paper is a reminder of what I find interesting about bidirectional transcription, as well as a reminder to not give up on a pursuit that is important.