I’ve now read two novel attempts to explain the existence of junk DNA. To a lot of people, the very idea of junk DNA is offensive: whatever process built us, whether divine fiat or the razor-sharp honing of natural selection, must be powerful, omnipotent or nearly so, and incapable of tolerating any noise or sloppiness,…
Science writer Carl Zimmer just wrote an article in the New York Times about the junk DNA wars and it's worth a read. Zimmer presents conflicting expert opinions about the definition of 'junk' and the exact role that junk DNA plays in various genetic processes. Show More Summary
From yesterday's New York Times Magazine, here's an excellent intro by Carl Zimmer to the Junk DNA Wars. In January, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, made a comment that revealed just how far the consensus has moved. Show More Summary
“Over millions of years, essential genes haven’t changed very much, while junk DNA has picked up many harmless mutations. Scientists at the University of Oxford have measured evolutionary change over the past 100 million years at every spot in the human genome. ‘I can today say, hand on my heart, that 8 percent, plus or […]
Single-letter genetic variations within parts of the genome once dismissed as 'junk DNA' can increase cancer risk through wormhole-like effects on far-off genes, new research shows. Researchers found that DNA sequences within 'gene deserts'...Show More Summary
A study released today by researchers at Lund University in Sweden indicates that inherited viruses may be responsible for creating the complex neural networks that make up the human brain. For many years, the endogenous retroviruses that comprise about 5 percent of human DNA were thought to be...
It arises from what scientists previously described as "junk DNA" or "the dark matter of the genome," but this gene is definitely not junk. The gene GAS5 acts as a brake on steroid hormone receptors, making it a key player in diseases such as hormone-sensitive prostate and breast cancer. read more
A big dispute erupted in the genomics world in 2012 with the publication of the ENCODE consortium's data - and with their interpretation of it. How much of the human genome is functional? And just what does "functional" mean? The ENCODE...Show More Summary
A team has mined genomic sequences sequences to identify a non-protein-coding RNA whose expression is linked to ovarian cancer.
PHILADELPHIA - Over the years researchers have made tremendous strides in the understanding and treatment of cancer by searching genomes for links between genetic alterations and disease. read more
More than a decade has passed since the completion of the Human Genome Project, the international collaboration to map all of the "letters" in our DNA. The huge effort led to revolutionary genomic discoveries, but more than 10 yearsShow More Summary
Geneticists at Oxford University are making the astounding claim that a mere 8.2% of our DNA does something biologically important. That means upwards of 90% of the human genome is "junk" — a discovery that could dramatically hasten genetic research. Read more...
Only 8.2 percent of human DNA is likely to be doing something important -- is 'functional' -- say researchers. This figure is very different from one given in 2012, when some scientists involved in the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project stated that 80% of our genome has some biochemical function.
This is the paper to read: Palazzo & Gregory’s The Case for Junk DNA. It clearly and logically lays out the complete argument from evidence and theory for the thesis that most of the genome is junk. It’s not revolutionary or radical, though: the whole story is based on very fundamental population genetics and molecular…
Science: The “Hypothetical Protein” Problem (excellent) Improving air quality in NYC would boost children’s future earnings by increasing IQ The Case for Junk DNA A Week of Irony Denmark: Three Deaths from Drug-Resistant “Pig MRSA” Other: The problem with Thomas … Continue reading ?
The term "junk DNA" has been under attack lately, but a pair of geneticists are now making the case for this much maligned and misunderstood concept. There are significant chunks of our DNA, they argue, that really are utterly useless. Read more...
Large sections of the genome that were once referred to as 'junk' DNA have been linked to human heart failure, according to research. So-called junk DNA was long thought to have no important role in heredity or disease because it doesn't code for proteins. Show More Summary
Large sections of the genome that were once referred to as "junk" DNA have been linked to human heart failure, according to research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. So-called junk DNA was long thought to have no important role in heredity or disease because it doesn't code for proteins. Show More Summary
In 2007, a PLoS ONE paper by Ahmed et al. proposed a phylogeny for Mycobacteria in which M. leprae (the leprosy organism) is shown as a relatively recent branch off a very long tree, with M. tuberculosis depicted (in a decidedly fanciful schematic) as being of relatively recent provenance (35,000 years), diverging from M. Show More Summary