can RNA vaccines modify our DNA?

THE CHEKING PROCESS – The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna rely on injecting strands of the virus’s genetic code. However, is there a risk that this technique will transform us into mutants?

“Not only does RNA not enter the nucleus of cells, but even if it did, it could not interact with our genetic code,” explains Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre.
«Not only does RNA not fit into the nucleus of cells, but even if it did, it couldn’t interact with our genetic code.», Explains Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre. Given Ruvic / REUTERS

THE QUESTION. Among the 48 vaccines against the coronavirus currently being tested in humans, two in particular have a head start: that developed by the biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics, and that of the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (developed with the German company BioNTech).

In both cases, it is a vaccine of a new kind said “to messenger RNA“. A fairly recent technology which involves injecting part of the genetic material of a virus into the body to induce an immune response against the same virus. Presented so succinctly, the technology can seem frightening to the general public: is there not a risk that this viral genetic heritage mixes with ours?

CHECKS. This idea is actually more science fiction than anything else. But to be convinced of this, it is useful to understand how our cells work. There are two types of genetics coding molecules which are

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