Does junk DNA protect against mutation?

One of the most common hypotheses that I hear with regard to possible non-coding DNA function is that it serves to protect genes against mutation. Junk DNA, according to this proposal, is there to provide a defensive shield against mutagens (usually this includes UV, ionizing radiation, chemical mutagens, viruses, and/or oxygen radicals). I am very skeptical of this explanation, but I am willing to take it seriously if it is studied seriously. In fact, one of my current graduate students first came to talk with me when he was an undergraduate and asked me about this possible function. For his undergraduate research project, we tried to test it using Drosophila species with different genome sizes exposed to chemical mutagens and screened for phenotypic effects (we learned a lot about how one might design such an experiment, but the results were inconclusive on the first attempt). That’s much more than most proponents of this hypothesis try to do, and I suspect that’s one reason that it has not really gained much ground in the genomics community.

Various visitors to this blog have brought up the hypothesis in one form or another, so even though little or no data is ever presented (and counter-examples are generally dismissed out of hand), I will once again treat the idea seriously.

Specifically, here is my overview of what proponents of the mutation protection hypothesis need to know and what they need to do if they want this to move out of the armchair and into the realm of science.

I. This is not a new idea.
If you have been following this blog, you will know that functions for non-coding DNA have been proposed regularly for decades. Not surprisingly, the notion that it protects genes from mutagens was one of them. This hypothesis dates back in a general form nearly 40 years to the paper in Nature by Yunis and Yasmineh (1971). As they wrote:

“Recent reports indicate that the DNA of constitutive heterochromatin is composed to a large extent of short repeated polynucleotide sequences, termed satellite DNA. This discovery has necessitated a critical review of current ideas concerning the origin and function of this portion of the genome of higher organisms (4-12). A careful appraisal of the information that has accumulated about heterochromatin since the time of Heitz [late 1920s, early 1930s] and on satellite DNA during the last decade suggests that these entities have vital structural functions: they maintain nuclear organization, protect vital regions of the genome, serve as an early pairing mechanism in meiosis, and aid in speciation.”

Yunis and Yasmineh (1971) focused primarily on structural roles for non-coding DNA, and I don’t think aiding in speciation can be considered a “function”, but they did also include the basic notion of genome defense.

True to the standard view of the 1970s (and, to a significant extent, of many authors today), they begin with an adaptationist assumption and build from there:

“With the assumption that a portion that comprises some 10 percent of the genomes in higher organisms cannot be without a raison d’etre, an extensive review led us to conclude that a certain amount of constitutive heterochromatin is essential in multicellular organisms at two levels of organization, chromosomal and nuclear. At the chromosomal level, constitutive heterochromatin is present around vital areas within the chromosomes. Around the centromeres, for example, heterochromatin is believed to confer protection and strength to the centromeric chromatin. Around secondary constrictions, heterochromatic blocks may ensure against evolutionary change of ribosomal cistrons by decreasing the frequency of crossing-over in these cistrons in meiosis and absorbing the effects of mutagenic agents. During meiosis heterochromatin may aid in the initial alignment of chromosomes prior to synapsis and may facilitate speciation by allowing chromosomal rearrangement and providing, through the species specificity of its DNA, barriers against cross-fertilization.”

A few years later — and three years after the rise of the term “junk DNA” (Ohno 1972; Comings 1972) — Hsu (1975) provided a much stronger argument for what he called the “bodyguard hypothesis”. To start, Hsu (1975) noted that many hypotheses had already been presented for the function of heterochromatin, of which he listed six. Importantly, he also noted the following, which seems to have been lost on most current authors:

“Some investigators consider the repeated DNA sequences as the equivalent of ‘appendices’ of gene evolution and therefore facetiously refer to them as ‘junk’. Actually few really think that ‘junk’ DNA is completely useless (cf. Ohno 1972; Comings 1972).”

Now, was Hsu saying that Ohno and Comings did or did not claim that junk DNA is completely useless? The “confer” is ambiguous (it can mean either “compare with” or “consult”), but Hsu was almost certainly aware that Comings was explicit in ascribing function to a large portion of junk DNA.

In any case, the “bodyguard hypothesis” was described as follows:

“The hypothesis proposed here is a simple-minded one: constitutive heterochromatin is used by the cell as a bodyguard to protect the vital euchromatin by forming a layer of dispensable shield on the outer surface of the nucleus. Mutagens, clastogens [inducing chromosome breakage] or even viruses attacking the nucleus must first make contact with the constitutive heterochromatin which absorbs the assault, thus sparing the euchromatic genes from damage, unless the detrimental agents are overpowering.”

Hsu did not apply this to all causes of mutation nor to all types of non-coding DNA — “Probably heterochromatin is ineffective in protecting euchromatic genes against penetrating ionizing radiations, but against chemicals (especially large molecules) and viruses, the layer of thick chromatin may be an excellent barrier” — but it has certainly been invoked more broadly by others since.

For example, the idea has been brought up with renewed vigour by some Russian geneticists (Patrushev 1997; Patrushev and Minkevitch 2006, 2007, 2008). In this case, the focus is on endogenous mutagens (i.e., free oxygen radicals generated through aerobic metabolism). They take this much farther than Hsu by applying it as a major explanation for genome size differences generally and by including transposable elements (which are much more abundant than satellite DNA). As they argued:

“Our data suggest the following molecular mechanism that controls the size of eukaryotic genome in phylogenesis. During the whole life, nuclear DNA of aerobic organisms is affected by a continuous flow of endogenous mutagens. Mutagens escaping the neutralizing effect of antimutagenesis system damage the nucleic bases of DNA, most of which are corrected by repair systems. This ensures a permissible genetically determined level of spontaneous mutagenesis. An increase in the intranuclear concentration of mutagens raises the mutation rate in genome-coding sequences,among which gene(s) of molecular sensor are present. Mutational alterations in the sensor mobilize retrotransposons, which results in a local growth in their copy number, enlargement of genome size, and a decrease inthe mutation in the corresponding coding sequences. As a result, the genome–endogenous mutagen system reaches a new steady-state level. A decrease in the intranuclear concentration of mutagens will be accompanied by a reduction of genome size as a result of spontaneous deletions in its now excessive (in view of accomplishing the protective functions) sequences.” (Patrushev and Minkevitch 2006)

Put more directly, and very much in line with Hsu’s depiction of a “bodyguard”,

“In such a situation, the noncoding DNA of eukaryotic genome behaves quite ‘altruistically’ by putting itself under injuries instead of coding DNA.” (Patrushev and Minkevitch 2008)

The model they propose is summarized in this figure from Patrushev and Minkevitch (2008):

From Patrushev and Minkevitch (2008).  Click for larger image.

From Patrushev and Minkevitch (2008). Click for larger image.

In another example, Vinogradov (1998) proposed that non-coding DNA serves in “buffering the effect of fluctuations in intra-cellular solute composition on chromatin condensation state in its condensed form and on binding of DNA-tropic proteins and other ligands in its decondensed form.” There are probably other examples, but these suffice to show that the idea has been in the literature for some time. In fact, non-experts who get excited about the idea when they first think of it should realize that it has been around for almost four decades, and that in all that time it has barely had any impact. I believe this is due in significant part to a chronic lack of supporting evidence and a number of counterexamples — but more on that later.

II. Specific predictions need to be made and tested.
There is nothing wrong with the mutation protection hypothesis on the face of it. As I said, at least one of my students first became interested in genome size because of it and we considered it worth testing experimentally. However, there is a crucial difference between thinking up the hypothesis and actually testing it. If anyone is serious about this idea, and doesn’t want to be just another person who holds on to the idea with an unjustified tenacity, then they need to present specific, testable predictions that derive from the hypothesis.

Hsu (1975) recognized the problem of speculating on functions for junk DNA without evidence or any clear means of empirical testing. Thus, he was careful to provide several specific predictions of his bodyguard hypothesis that are amenable to analysis:

  1. “the mutation rate induced by chemical mutagens should be inversely correlated with the number of B chromosomes”.
  2. heterochromatin should be “more concentrated at the periphery of the nucleus (and probably also at the nucleoli) than in the interior”.
  3. “organisms with more constitutive heterochromatin [should be] more resistant to induced mutations, at least by chemical mutagens”.

Again, let’s take the idea seriously and ask how Hsu’s original predictions have fared over the past 35 years.

Prediction 1: B chromosomes vs. mutation rate
B chromosomes (also called supernumerary chromosomes) are something of an odd choice in this context, because they are not found in all species and they vary in size and number within and among species. By definition, they are not important for survival. They do appear to have effects on recombination (i.e., they increase its frequency), and this has in the past been suggested as a functional role. On the other hand, in high numbers they appear to have deleterious effects on the organisms carrying them. Indeed, B chromosomes were described very early on as parasitic elements (Östergren 1945; one of the first clear expositions of the “selfish DNA” idea), and this remains the most common interpretation (Camacho 2005).

I am not aware of many tests of the prediction that more B chromosomes will provide greater protection against mutations (iperhaps because I don’t follow the B chromosome literature very closely), and in any case the other deleterious impacts and obvious parasitic properties of B chromosomes challenge a primarily adaptive explanation for their presence. However, there are a few experiments that are relevant to this prediction. For example, here is the abstract from a recent study by Weber et al. (2007) on B chromosomes and mutations in maize:

Two hypotheses (the Bodyguard hypothesis and the ABCW hypothesis) have been proposed that predict that the amount and type of chromatin in the nucleus will affect induced mutation rates. The Bodyguard hypothesis proposes that a function of constitutive heterochromatin may be to protect euchromatin from chemical mutagens. The ABCW hypothesis, states that the mutation rate per locus from ionizing radiation is directly proportional to the haploid DNA content of a species. We altered the total amount of genomic DNA and also the amount of heterochromatin by adding supernumerary B chromosomes (which are largely composed of heterochromatin) to maize (Zea mays L.) cells. We compared induced mutation frequencies at the yellow-green2 (yg2) locus in near-isogenic plants that contained 0 (diploid) or 4 supernumerary B chromosomes (diploid + 4 Bs) to evaluate these hypotheses. We found that the chemical mutagen, EMS, caused significantly higher mutation frequencies in plants that contained 4 B chromosomes (and therefore additional constitutive heterochromatin) than in diploid controls. The Bodyguard hypothesis predicts precisely the opposite result. We also found that ionizing radiation caused significantly higher mutation frequencies in plants with 4 B chromosomes than in diploid control plants. This type of change is predicted by the ABCW hypothesis; however, the extent of the increase observed in this study is much higher than the ABCW hypothesis would predict. The higher mutation frequencies from EMS and radiation in plants that contained 4 B chromosomes was unanticipated, and is the first observation that cells may be more susceptible to mutagenesis when B chromosomes are present. We also compared spontaneous mutation frequencies at the waxy1 (wx1) locus in plants containing 0 or 4-5 B chromosomes, and found that the presence of B chromosomes had no detectable impact. However, the pollen abortion frequency was significantly increased by the presence of 5 B chromosomes.

Prediction 2: Arrangement of chromatin
The idea that chromatin is arranged non-randomly in the nucleus is at least 100 years old. Theodor Boveri described chromatin “territories” in 1909, for example. According to Hsu’s hypothesis, heterochromatin should be localized on the outer region of the nucleus as a shield for the sensitive euchromatin in the interior. Again, I do not follow the literature on nuclear structure carefully, but there are some papers that deal with this issue of which I am aware. For example, Tanabe et al. (2002) concluded the following in their study of chromatin arrangement and mutational patterns:

“Evidence for evolutionary conservation argues for a still unknown functional significance of distinct radial higher-order chromatin arrangements. In 1975, T.C. Hsu proposed the ‘bodyguard’ hypothesis for a possible function of constitutive heterochromatin. He argued that constitutive heterochromatin localized in the nuclear periphery might protect the centrally localized euchromatin against mutagens, clastogens, and viruses. However, evidence for the existence of a protection shield has not been provided so far. The fact that later replicating, gene-poor chromatin is incorporated in the constitutive, gene free heterochromatin to form a chromatin shield in the nuclear periphery cannot be easily integrated into this hypothesis. While G-dark band chromatin contains tissue-specific genes, these genes are certainly not of minor importance as compared with the housekeeping genes that are localized in G-light band chromatin in the interior nuclear compartment. The finding in the human fibroblast nuclei that—in contrast to lymphocyte nuclei—both HSA18 and 19 territories are apparently in contact with the nuclear envelope and thus similarly exposed to mutagens, which will enter the nucleus, presents another difficulty. Why should gene dense HSA19 be better protected in lymphocyte nuclei than in fibroblast nuclei? Furthermore, in the light of the bodyguard hypothesis, we would expect to observe DNA damage preferentially in the peripheral chromatin shield. However, several reports indicate a non-random distribution of double strand breaks, as well as endonuclease- or radiation-induced chromosome aberration sites were preferentially observed in the gene-dense G-light bands.”

Again, there may be data out there that support the mutation protection idea, but so far it is not looking good for the hypothesis.

Prediction 3: Non-coding DNA content vs. mutation rate
It is an interesting bit of historical trivia that some early work on genome size diversity was funded by the US Atomic Energy Commission, much as the human genome sequencing initiative was supported by the Department of Energy. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was interest in patterns of sensitivity to radiation and their potential relation to genomic properties including genome size. In general, these studies reported a positive correlation between mutagenic sensitivity to radiation and DNA content (Sparrow and Evans 1961; Sparrow and Miksche 1961; Sparrow et al. 1965, 1968; Baetcke et al. 1967; Abrahamson et al. 1973; Wolff and Abrahamson 1974; Athanasiou and Heddle 1975; Heddle and Athanasiou 1975; Trujillo and Dugan 1975). That is to say, more DNA means more, not less, sensitivity to radiation-induced mutations on a per-locus basis.

From Abrahamson et al. (1973).  Click for larger image

From Abrahamson et al. (1973). Click for larger image

From Trujillo and Dugan (1975).  Click for larger image.

From Trujillo and Dugan (1975). Click for larger image.

From Heddle and Athanasiou (1975).  Click for larger image.

From Heddle and Athanasiou (1975). Click for larger image.

From Heddle and Athanasiou (1975).  Click for larger image.

From Heddle and Athanasiou (1975). Click for larger image.

Other possible predictions:
Hsu’s predictions do not seem to have stood up well to testing, but the important point is that he proposed them and allowed his hypothesis to face empirical scrutiny. Likewise, current proponents of the mutation protection hypothesis need to follow in this tradition.

III. Previous observations need to be explained.
One of the reasons that the mutation protection hypothesis does not have widespread acceptance is that there seem to be too many well-known phenomena that do not jive well with it. Consider the following patterns:

  1. Species exposed to intense UV (e.g., on land or in freshwater in the Arctic, pelagic plankton, etc.) do not appear to have large genomes. On the other hand, some very large genomes are found in deep-sea invertebrates.
  2. Among vertebrates, species with high metabolic rates, and presumably more free oxygen radicals, have smaller genomes than species with lower metabolic rates.
  3. There can be substantial differences in genome size among similar organisms, for example as in onion and its relatives or among salamanders.
  4. Despite claims to the contrary based on small and questionable analyses, there are no clear relationships between genome size and lifespan.
  5. Transposable elements, which are the primary contributor to genome size, can cause a range of mutations through insertion into genes or by causing large deletions by illegitimate recombination, the latter of which is especially likely with the long terminal repeat (LTR) elements that are common in plants.
  6. DNA content obviously can be amplified in somatic cells by endoreduplication, but this tends to be in cells involved in ion exchange, protein production, etc., and not ones exposed most to mutagens (such as the skin exposed to UV).

Overall, the mutation protection idea has intuitive appeal, which is why it was proposed so early and why it continues to pop up as an apparently independent invention among interested non-experts. As I said, I am happy to consider it as a legitimate hypothesis — but only if it moves well beyond the usual pattern in which it is proposed as though it were new, accepted without supporting evidence, and defended through dismissal of obvious counter-evidence. The null hypothesis, that much of the non-coding DNA in eukaryotic genomes does not have an organismal function, also has to be acknowledged as at least equally plausible in light of our understanding of genome biology.


Abrahamson, S., M.A. Bender, A.D. Conger, and S. Wolff (1973). Uniformity of radiation-induced mutation rates among different species. Nature 245: 460-462.

Athanasiou, K. and J.A. Heddle (1975). EMS induced mutation rates and their relation to genome size. Canadian Journal of Genetics and Cytology 17: 455.

Baetcke, K.P., A.H. Sparrow, C.H. Nauman, and S.S. Schwemmer (1967). The relationship of DNA content to nuclear and chromosome volumes and to radiosensitivity (LD50). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 58: 533-540.

Camacho, J.P.M. (2005). B chromosomes. In: The Evolution of the Genome, ed. T.R. Gregory. Elsevier, San Diego, pp.223-286.

Comings, D. E. (1972). “The structure and function of chromatin.” Advances in Human Genetics 3: 237-431.

Heddle, J.A. and K. Athanasiou (1975). Mutation rate, genome size and their relation to the rec concept. Nature 258: 359-361.

Hsu, T.S. (1975). A possible function of constitutive heterochromatin: the bodyguard hypothesis. Genetics 79 (Suppl. 2): 137-150

Ohno, S. (1972). So much “junk” DNA in our genome. Evolution of Genetic Systems. H. H. Smith. New York, Gordon and Breach: 366-370.

Östergren, G. (1945). “Parasitic nature of extra fragment chromosomes.” Botaniska Notiser 2: 157-163.

Patrushev, L.I. (1997). Altruistic DNA: About protective functions of the abundant DNA in the eukaryotic genome and its role in stabilizing genetic information. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology International 41: 851-860

Patrushev, L.I. and I.G. Minkevich (2006). Eukaryotic non-coding DNA sequences provide genes with an additional protection against chemical mutagens. Russian Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry 32: 408-413

Patrushev, L.I. and I.G. Minkevich (2007).Genomic non-coding sequences and the size of eukaryotic cell nucleus as important factors of gene protection from chemical mutagens. Russian Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry 33: 474-477

Patrushev, L.I. and I.G. Minkevich (2008). The problem of eukaryotic genome size. Biochemistry 73: 1519-1552.

Sparrow, A.H. and H.J. Evans (1961). Nuclear factors affecting radiosensitivity. I. The influence of nuclear size and structure, chromosome complement, and DNA content. Brookhaven Symposia in Biology 14: 76-100.

Sparrow, A.H. and J.P. Miksche (1961). Correlation of nuclear volume and DNA content with higher plant tolerance to chronic radiation. Science 134: 282-283.

Tanabe, H., F.A. Habermann, I. Solovei, M. Cremer, and T. Cremer (2002). Non-random radial arrangements of interphase chromosome territories: evolutionary considerations and functional implications. Mutation Research 504: 37-45.

Sparrow, A.H., K.P. Baetcke, D.L. Shaver, and V. Pond (1968). The relationship of mutation rate per Roentgen to DNA content per chromosome and to interphase chromosome volume. Genetics 59: 65-78.

Trujillo, R. and V.L. Dugan 1975. Radiosensitivity and radiation-induced mutability: an empirical relationship. Rad. and Environm. Biophys. 12: 253-256.

Vinogradov, A.E. (1998). Buffering: a possible passive-homeostasis role for redundant DNA. Journal of Theoretical Biology 193: 197-199.

Weber, D.F., M.J. Plewa, and R. Feazel (2007). Effect of B chromosomes on induced and spontaneous mutation frequencies in maize. Maydica 52: 109-115.

Wolff, S., S. Abrahamson, M.A. Bender, and A.D. Conger (1974). The uniformity of normalized radiation-induced mutation rates among different species. Genetics 78: 133-134.

Yunis, J.J. and W.G. Yasmineh (1971). Heterochromatin, satellite DNA, and cell function. Science 174: 1200-1209.

21 comments to Does junk DNA protect against mutation?

  • The other jim

    Thank-you.  That was a very nice summary.
    My experience in discussion is that people simply use the probability argument (if 90% of the DNA is non coding, 90% of the mutations will be in non-coding). Not very satisfying, but a quite widespread argument.


  • I have just noticed this so I suppose comments from the previous post (The junk DNA myth (or lack thereof), should move here.
    TRG said: “As I said, I am happy to consider it as a legitimate hypothesis — but only if it moves well beyond the usual pattern in which it is proposed as though it were new, accepted without supporting evidence, and defended through dismissal of obvious counter-evidence. The null hypothesis, that much of the non-coding DNA in eukaryotic genomes does not have an organismal function, also has to be acknowledged as at least equally plausible in light of our understanding of genome biology.”
    It’s not my intention to propode it as if it were new, never thought that because obviously it isn’t. I just mentioned it (sorry for mentioning it without listing all the evidence for and against) because i thought the idea of these blogs were for informal discussion, debate etc. I have often wondered why the “bodyguard” theory has never really been studied (maybe it is too difficult technically to test) in detail and why it is dismissed by many but without proper consideration. I am not saying that you are doing so but others, many others have. I have not had time to study what you write above, there is quite a lot of technical detail. The null hypothesis is the simplest – i.e. no real function, but the protective hypothesis (NOT MINE, just one i think could be possible) is the next simplest that needs to be explained away. I can attempt to answer your questions to your satisfaction (maybe more comments than detailed answers, so maybe not to youre satisfaction and so maybe I should keep quiet?) – in the end it’s not going to go away until it is properly tested and excluded, or else real evidence for some other function emerges



      Keith Grimaldi: The null hypothesis is the simplest – i.e. no real function, but the protective hypothesis (NOT MINE, just one i think could be possible) is the next simplest that needs to be explained away.

      I’m fine with continuing to consider this as a viable hypothesis — my goal here is not to refute it but to move it forward and to point out what it will need in order to be accepted.  However, I have an issue with your logic here.  The simplest explanation is non-function.  The second-simplest is bodyguard function.  The latter is simple and therefore needs to be refuted with evidence.  But the first, which is even simpler, apparently does not.  Evidence for the bodyguard hypothesis would be evidence against the non-functional hypothesis, so you’re stuck with needing positive evidence for your idea before we worry about refuting it.




  • David

    An interesting posting, and a useful reminder that just because something seems intuitive, does not make it true.
    The difficulty as I see it is how do you test the hypothesis. For most organisms, irrespective of genome size, it is critical to minimise (manage?)  the rate of mutation, either by perhaps reducing target size (under debate), or improving DNA repair mechanisms.
    It is possible (testable) that organisms with smaller genomes have more efficient DNA repair.

    I am interested in retrotransposition, and exaptation of retrotransposed elements. In most genomes the distribution is non-random, and indeed different elements may display different patterns of distibution.
    Whilst not proving or disproving the hypothesis either way, anecdotally I have come across examples of repeats within repeats within repeats (like a russian doll), suggesting that the initial repeat was a target for a subsequent integration and so on.

    One way of testing the relationship between genome size and mutation rate (without worrying about selection) would be to look at polyploid plants, by generating tetraploids. This would double the size of the genome, and allow for comparision of the mutation rate in parents and F1 



      David: One way of testing the relationship between genome size and mutation rate (without worrying about selection) would be to look at polyploid plants, by generating tetraploids. This would double the size of the genome, and allow for comparision of the mutation rate in parents and F1

      I’d be surprised if that had never been attempted, but I’ll let you search the botanical literature!



  • Yes I agree that I would be wrong to propose the 2nd less simplest as needing refutation without having refuted the simplest. I instinctively preferred the protective theory, but it was in preference to the more complex theories and the statements that it has to have complex function or nature would have discarded it (I don’t believe that nature is a perfectionist and that just because it – “junk” DNA- is there is has to have a purpose – it may have none). I accept that I am guilty of assuming that the protective theory was the simplest because I spontaneously concluded that there is too much DNA damage for a purely gene containing genome to sustain – the null is the simplest, even so, I am still inclined to the protective but also accept that the null needs to be dealt with, and I certainly can’t refute it without experimentation.
    Positive evidence? I don’t know, I prefer the protective theory because of the fact of the background mutation rates of cells due to endogenous damage for which sophisticated  processes have evolved to defend against. These processes are not 100% reliable and maybe they don’t need to be because of the presence of non-coding DNA, i.e. there is not a “purpose” or a “function” for non-coding DNA, but it just happens to be there which meant that repair mechanisms did not have to evolve to perfection without compromising life-span. This is speculating of course, but what is a fact is the level of endogenous damage and the rates of mutation caused by this damage (important to note that we are discussing here endogenous damage, not external artificially applied ionising radiation – for UV I need to come back to that). If these levels were concentrated to coding regions in the nuclear genome they would be too high for generational life spans (in humans at least). It doesn’t require development of specific chromosome structures, or molecular sensors, just the presence of a majority of non-coding DNA.
    This does not mean that non-coding DNA needed to “evolve” to fulfil this function, but, as above, it is there so it meant that repair systems did not need to evolve to even higher levels of fidelity. So we are getting to a dependence on definitions. It has no “purpose” (what has?), it did not “evolve for a reason”, it just happens to be there… with maybe no function. The single question that differentiates the null hypothesis from the next level up (protective) is “does it need to be there, can we do without it”? I glibly and facetiously said in my first post that if it wasn’t there it would need to be invented – I meant it in this sense and that is the ultimate test or prediction: without it a cell would not survive. I would like to test it, unfortunately I don’t have the resources and I cannot think of a clever other way to test it, I don’t know if it is technologically possible to do so currently. On the other hand I don’t know either if it is worth dedicating too many resources to it because I’m not sure what benefit it would bring to know the answer apart from curiosity and the fact that it would be nice to resolve it, it’s giving me a bit of a headache…


    • I think it is an interesting question, but my one caution would be that it’s not all or nothing.  There may be a certain minimum amount of non-coding DNA that a complex genome really does need (this is a given, at least in terms of telomeres, centromeres, etc.), but the majority of it, and the differences in amount among species, may not be explained that way.


  • I have tried to answer your questions – nothing conclusive of course but maybe they still leave room for a protective property of DNA (i try to use neutral words – protective property rather than role or function. The latter suggest that non-coding DNA evolved to fulfil a particular role or function, i don’t believe that is necessary to propose).

    1. Species exposed to intense UV (e.g., on land or in freshwater in the Arctic, pelagic plankton, etc.) do not appear to have large genomes. On the other hand, some very large genomes are found in deep-sea invertebrates.
    I don’t think that either no-function or protective hypotheses need to explain very large genomes if it is accepted that they are there for no particular “reason” but that their existence may reduce the required fidelity of repair mechanisms (in the case of protective). What is the life cycle of plankton – a few days? Short enough perhaps to not be compromised by UV?
    2. Among vertebrates, species with high metabolic rates, and presumably more free oxygen radicals, have smaller genomes than species with lower metabolic rates.
    Even the smaller genomes are considerably non-coding (hummingbiord?) and would be sufficient to provide protection to allow survival long enough for reproduction in these short life-span animals. I’m trying not to dismiss out of hand…is there a proposed reason for smaller genomes linked to higher metabolic rates that would make the “cost” of genome size reduction worth it?
    3. There can be substantial differences in genome size among similar organisms, for example as in onion and its relatives or among salamanders.
    Again – I don’t think that either no-function or protective needs to explain vastly differing genome sizes. Neither propose that genome size evolved to fit specific needs, rather, the protective hypothesis would propose that the repair mechanisms evolved to the necessary fidelity required to cope with whatever circumstances existed. Both no-function and protective accept that the non-coding DNA happened by chance and was allowed to build up because there is not strong reason to get rid of it, since it is not such an energy consuming resource to replicate it etc (except maybe for high metabolic rates where some needs to be discarded?)
    4. Despite claims to the contrary based on small and questionable analyses, there are no clear relationships between genome size and lifespan.
    Ditto – except that obviously, for a protective role, there would need to be sufficient non-coding DNA to support a life-span long enough to reproduce. This does not predict though that genome size is tightly linked to lifespan – for protection, a genome with a majority of non-coding DNA would be necessary but not sufficient for an adequate life-span.
    5. Transposable elements, which are the primary contributor to genome size, can cause a range of mutations through insertion into genes or by causing large deletions by illegitimate recombination, the latter of which is especially likely with the long terminal repeat (LTR) elements that are common in plants.
    Mismatch detection and repair systems are very well developed and highly (not 100%) efficient – the greatest cause of DNA damage, by orders of magnitude, is endogenous, so problems related to transposable elements, copying long repeats, etc would presumably be coped with. Also not all mutation is bad even at the gene level, we are full of SNPs, insertions, deletions, CNVs, etc. Most damage is handled, if not the next protection is apoptosis if insertions corrupt crucial genes. Sometimes insertion into some crucial genes though may not be detected as aberrant and could lead to loss of cell growth control, or reduce damage repair fidelity, or anything that may lead eventually to transformed cells. But this could also be an argument for non-coding DNA being useful for protection – the presence of which makes it much less likely that insertions will happen in genes.
    6. DNA content obviously can be amplified in somatic cells by endoreduplication, but this tends to be in cells involved in ion exchange, protein production, etc., and not ones exposed most to mutagens (such as the skin exposed to UV).
    Not sure what the answer to this is, or if it needs one, given the “passive” role proposed for non-coding genome size regarding protection. For UV other protection mechanisms evolved (e.g. melanin)


  • Dr. Gregory
    This is a great blog, I’m just starting to sift through all the ideas presented here. I’ve also read a few of your papers. Although not about this post in particular, this comment is about non-coding DNA. How I learn, I hope you would forgive any naivety on my part in advance.

    Let’s call this ncDNA for non-coding DNA. I don’t like the name “Junk DNA” because it implies “not worth sequencing.” Also, there is a semantic problem with “junk.” It doesn’t properly address the complexity of genomes and the evolutionary processes going on. Your analogy of genomes to gut bacteria is apt. Genomes are ecologies. An old ecology that could go back to a time before DNA. Variety is a key part. Even related species with the same genome size can have huge differences in the characteristics of their respective ncDNA.  Parts of this ecology are host/associate processes that run the range from predator to parasite to a type of symbiosis. In response the genome has built defenses and through exaptation, has recruited various elements, especially new regulatory elements and sometimes new genes[3].

    So I ask myself a question: Why is it that bacterial genomes don’t have ncDNA, especially:


    The null hypothesis would be they got there by accident, contingency.

    Ten minutes on Google is a revelation. There are no structures on eukaryote genomes that doesn’t already exist in some form on bacterial genomes. Multiple chromosomes, linear chromosomes, group I and group II introns, retrotrasposons, precursors to centromeres[4]. The tell is that there are three ways bacteria solve the halting problem for linear chromosomes while eukaryote chromosomes only use one, telomere repeats[2]. So my bet would be contingency.

    ncDNA as structure:
    Seems like there is correlation between genome size and cell size. Also, that newer species tend to have smaller genomes (like the onions). I know that attempts to correlate different phenotypes and genome size in plants have not had very good results. Also, genome folding compartmentalizes gene rich and gene poor regions[1]. Seems the direct relationship is to physiology but I’m a little unclear as to what that means. I took the c-values of some of the various animal groups and did a frequency distribution. Large genomes are rare and small genomes common, the frequency of large genomes fall into a very long tail. Insects especially. If you look at the frequency of plant host families to Lepidoptera species you get a long-tailed graph. Specialists are common and generalists are rare. Frequency of gene introgression vs distance from cline center across a hybrid zone or seed dispersal vs distance, all long-tailed. This means that there is a barrier to larger genomes but the barrier is permeable. This would suggest that large genomes are being recruited for some function but it could be very different function depending on the group.

    Comprehensive Mapping of Long-Range Interactions Reveals Folding Principles of the Human Genome, Erez Lieberman-Aiden, Nynke L. van Berkum, Louise Williams, Maxim Imakaev, Tobias Ragoczy, Agnes Telling, Ido Amit, Bryan R. Lajoie, Peter J. Sabo, Michael O. Dorschner, Richard Sandstrom, Bradley Bernstein, M. A. Bender, Mark Groudine, Andreas Gnirke, John Stamatoyannopoulos, Leonid A. Mirny, Eric S. Lander, Job Dekker, Science Oct 2009.
    Complete nucleotide sequence of the chlorarachniophyte nucleomorph: Nature’s smallest nucleus, Paul R. Gilson, Vanessa Su, Claudio H. Slamovits, Michael E. Reith, Patrick J. Keeling, Geoffrey I. McFadden, PNAS June 20, 2006.
    DNA Transposons and the Evolution of Eukaryotic Genomes, Cédric Feschotte and Ellen J. Pritham, Annu Rev Genet. 2007.
    Distribution of Centromere-Like parS Sites in Bacteria: Insights from Comparative Genomics, Jonathan Livny, Yoshiharu Yamaichi, and Matthew K. Waldor, J Bacteriol. 2007 December


  • Jackie

    At one point the author quotes that “The Bodyguard hypothesis predicts precisely the opposite result. We also found that ionizing radiation caused significantly higher mutation frequencies.” and also states later “more DNA means more, not less, sensitivity to radiation-induced mutations on a per-locus basis.”
    My question is whether the higher mutation frequencies occur within coding dna or among the non-coding. The reason this is relevant is because it seems quite obvious that the prescence of more material will add to the suscptability for mutations.  For example, the more lightning rods are present during a lightning storm, the higher the frequency that they will be struck, BUT the less likely anything else will be struck. I think to truly test the validity of “the body guard hypothesis” would require the other half of the experiment to take place. Rather than adding more non-coding dna, it should be removed. And the question should be “Does a decrease in non-coding dna increase the frequency of mutation within coding dna?”  



  • This blog is very helpful. 
    Actually, I was also hot on such idea and published two similar hypotheses in Biology Direct (2007 and 2011). But Now, I also doubt on the ideas. Even if both the premises and logics of the hypotheses are solid, we can only say that the noncoding sequences have such beneficial effects. However, only when the effect is strong enough to driven accumulations of noncoding seqences and against delections of them, can we conclude that the noncoding sequences persist in genomes because they have a role in protecting exons. Unfortunately, almost none of the hypothetical papers included quantitatively estimation the strength of the effects.


  • Don Smalter

    Electro-magnetic imprint of DNA goes with you in the death transition !! Multi-life history/experience/form holding patterns in Junk DNA ! Unseen IMPERISHABLE “bodies” in human aura! Brain is not the mind! Mind based upon mental (or reasoning) body of aura! Mind goes with you in death !!
    Note: I lost both of my parents at their early age of 57. This caused me to launch a part-time fifty year study of “what comes next after death?” Topics I researched were such as the Mother Mary apparition messages, a variety of religion beliefs other than my former Catholic (though still Christian), atheists rationale, the paranormal, quantum physics, biology, genomics, messages from the afterlife, instrumental transcommunication (ITC) via phone, tapes and TV, UFOs’ objectives, and extraterrestrial messages, trying to find out answers, primarily thru books, science magazines, and numerous websites, obviously with a very open mind.
    I was particularly interested in answering this question: How can it be that it is possible to contact afterdeath personalities as if they were still of full mental capability — via paranormal MEDIUMS, or even by special ITC electronic communications, as has been demonstrated repeatedly? As a retired engineer/executive, I needed to understand exactly HOW “mechanically”or structurally this could be possible. I FOUND THE ANSWER: Electromagnetic/energetic version of DNA — and unseen IMPERISHABLE body aura containing the mind —- go with you in your death transition!!
    Two books in particular provided key answers, and both were most believable due to being very comprehensive and “scientific” though not related to much of Christian/Judeo training.  Below I have compiled short summaries and excerpts for your possible interest. Also, a short list of books that reinforced these two.  I hope you will keep an open mind in reading them.  An old Chinese proverb states: “A mind is like a parachute. It only functions when it is OPEN.”
    To summarize the first book, a lengthy dictation by a benevolent extraterrestrial group Guardian Alliance, it teaches SCIENTIFIC EVOLVEMENT: 1) Your electro-magnetic or energetic version of DNA goes with you in the death transition. 2) you will reincarnate repeatedly and the JUNK DNA holds your personal multi-life history and experience. 3) Your consciousness will next progress eventually through fifteen dimensions toward “nirvana”perfection, currently being in the third.  All other dimensions are unseen and have different vibrational frequencies and atomic configurations.  4) After incarnation as Buddha, Christ as a highly advanced entity came to us as a teacher from the twelfth or higher dimension.  5) God is the Universe Prime Creator/Force/Source, and not the god Yahweh of the Old Testament who was an Ancient Astronaut to Earth. 
    As dictated by Ascended Masters, key messages in the second book were: 1) There are other unseen IMPERISHABLE “bodies” around the physical one in an aura (Note: As seen by Kirlian/GDV photography, see Wikipedia re: the paranormal aura).  Key bodies are the astral, the mental (or reasoning), the etheric, among several others. 2) THE BRAIN IS NOT THE MIND. The mental body is the basis/source of the mind. 3) All these “bodies” go with you in the death transition, especially including the mind.  4) In the next step, all these bodies and DNA will proceed with you into the astral plane or dimension. 5) do not fear death as it is merely a transition to another “form”.
    See the more detailed excerpts below.  Also, a short list of other reinforcing books. To me, these were “startling” concepts, but comforting in their believability as they “fit” based on other related research.
    There does need to be more scientific research especially on 1) electromagnetic/energetic & biophotonic properties of DNA, and 2) functions of the aura(or bio-energy field)! Russian and German scientific researchers are “on track” to one day scientifically prove life continues after death. Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp and son Jurgen at University of Marburg, Germany continue early work on electromagnetic aspects/versions of DNA and cell biophotonics as members of the Int’l Institute of Biophysics, and among others, Dr. Peter Geriaev in Russia with a breakthrough in biophotonic electromagnetic DNA termed Wave Genetics or bioholography. And, Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, Director at the St. Petersburg State Tech University, who concentrates on aura (or bio-energy field) research as Founder/President of the Int’l Union of Medical and Applied Bioelectrography, has actually produced early Kirlian/GDV photographs which may be of the “soul” or aura leaving dying human bodies. Unfortunately, American research on these two “niches” is relatively modest. Materialist brain researchers continue to believe that the source of the mind must be someplace in the brain or physical body. And, narrowly educated atheists do not believe in any perceived afterlife.
    Book  #1. Source: “Voyagers” Volumes I & II  — by Ashayana Deane(Anna Hayes) For details see Chapters on Ascension Mechanics & DNA.  Available from, Volume I and 2nd Edition Vol. II 583 pages. Also includes information on Earth history and quantum physics. Purchase strongly recommended.
    “At the death of the physical body, you will discover that your consciousness lives on and your evolution continues.
    “Ascension is not some lofty spiritual concept designed by the minds of man, it is the literal, tangible scientific process of the evolution of consciousness and biology with the laws of energy mechanics that apply to a multidimensional reality system.  All souls will eventually evolve and ascend through a 15 dimensional scale to re-emerge as sentient identity within realms of pure consciousness beyond the dimensional systems.  Whether or not you view ascension and multidimensional evolution as a reality while you are alive on Earth, you will be directly faced with that reality once your consciousness has passed out of physical life and into the multidimensional framework.   How well you prepare for that discovery now will determine the ease with which you are able to take your next evolutionary step once you “wake up on the other side”
    “The term “Ascension” represents much more than some lofty spiritual concept invented by the finite human psyche in order to give purpose to its finite existence.  Many in the earthly scientific communities believe that life is limited to the physical expression and that consciousness is the result of the body’s biochemical/neuro-electrical functions.  Following these erroneous beliefs they draw an equally erroneous conclusion that consciousness ends at the death of the physical body. Consequently, human science will be confronted with a whole new order of multidimensional reality and a whole new science.  
    “The process of ascension is not some quasi-religious concept based upon the meandering of the human mind.  Ascension is instead a highly SCIENTIFIC process that represents the universal order through which consciousness experiences itself as being.  Ascension also involves the understanding of morphogenetic fields or the form holding energy constructions that allow matter to build into individuated forms.  Ascension therefore is a science with specific mechanics that allow for the evolution of consciousness from simple to more complex forms.  Every being in existence is involved in this evolutionary process and applies to each and every one of you.  The choices one makes in thought and deed will determine the quality of experience, or lack thereof, that will be personally encountered.
     “DNA is built upon minute electro-tonal (i.e., multi octave) patterns of multidimensional frequency and the energetic imprint of the DNA goes with you in the death transition. The content of that pattern will determine how high your consciousness will be able to travel (progress) in the system once it is released from the body. Whatever frequencies are contained within that imprint will determine the specific dimensional placement after death.
    “This “system” blueprint has called your races forward toward an unseen destiny which is the return of immortality and the (eventual) reunion of the consciousness of man with its Prime Creative Source.  In terms of the soul’s perspective, the challenges and hardships faced along the way in Earth life are understood to be lessons in growth as human consciousness evolves to remember the truth of its eternal existence and embrace the beauty of its multidimensional identity. From the perspective of a human consciousness focused within a physical body on Earth, those challenges can seem, at times, overwhelming.  Without consciousness recognition of the purposes, processes and objectives of the evolutionary plan, the hardships can appear to be unbearable and without meaning.
    “All human souls are involved with the exact same process of evolving the genetic “package” and the consciousness to higher dimensional levels; some souls are just further along in this journey.  This is a process by which the life forms evolve through matter particles and anti-particles upward through the 15 dimensional scale, from dense matter solidity to pure, non-mattered-based conscious energy substance.
    “All dimensions exist in the same space, but seem to operate separately due to the particle pulsation rates of which they are composed.  The degree of angular rotation of particle spin shifts 90 degrees from one dimension to the next while remaining invisible to each other.  In the universe there are 15 primary dimensional bands.  Dimensional frequency bands group in sets of 3 and each set of three dimensions represents a Harmonic Universe.  Thus there are five Harmonic Universes within one (overall) dimensional Universe.  The degree of angular rotation of particle spin shifts 90 degrees from one dimension to the next within one Harmonic Universe.  In each Harmonic Universe containing three dimensions, there are two 90 degree shifts of the angular rotation of spin between particles.  Between one Harmonic Universe and the next there is a 45 degree reverse angular rotation of particle spin.  This 45 degree reverse angular rotation of particle spin creates a Magnetic Repulsion Zone, or void between Harmonic Universes, which keeps the reality fields contained there within separated from each other.  Through this structure of relative angular rotations of particle spin, the holographic illusions of multidimensional reality, matter, time, space, movement and individuation of form are perpetually created and sustained. Entities existing below the 7th dimension possess physical biological forms. Dimensions 7 through 9 possess the etheric matter form.
    “These multidimensional electromagnetic fields are collectively referred to as the bio-energetic system or the aura field of a manifest form. The aura field has seven primary inner layers (i.e., bodies) which correspond to dimensional frequency bands 1 through 7. The aura field also has seven outer layers which represent the form-holding MORPHOGENETIC imprints for the seven inner layers of the aura field. The morphogenetic imprint holds the instructions and design for form-building in a type of digital or electronic encoding. The seven outer layers correspond to dimensional frequency bands 9 through 15.
    “The perceptions of your present races are focused within the middle range of the third dimension.  In order for humanity to evolve into higher dimensional fields, the frequency patterns of dimensions four, five and six must be brought into manifest expression with the energetic grid of Earth.  The frequencies or sound-tones must also become operational within the active DNA strands.  The energetic imprint of the DNA is carried with the personal morphogenetic field and consciousness after physical death of the body.  (Note: Morphogenetic fields are the form holding patterns through which matter forms. Rupert Sheldrake postulated on their existence, but proposed no physical mechanism.)  Whatever frequencies are contained with that imprint will determine the dimensional placement of the consciousness after death.   The ultimate success of DNA* building lies in the hands of the embodied consciousness who personally directs the process by the way in which personal energy is used and applied.
                *Note 1:  Our current scientific community is thoroughly confused about the multiple strands of DNA, declaring only a few as having a known usage – and calling the remainder “junk DNA.”  Over 98% of DNA has an unknown function!  However, if it were junk, the sequence of the “syllables” i.e., the nucleotides in DNA, should be completely random.  In fact, they are not random at all, and current scientists now believe that this DNA contains some kind of code with function completely unknown or undetermined.
    “(At death), you will move your consciousness through a dark tunnel, with a bright light at its end, the same effect as in a Near-Death-Experience (Note: the subject of much book investigative reporting).
    “Multiple reincarnational** identities represent portions of a person’s soul awareness evolving.   To the soul-self identity, the immediate incarnates in its incarnational family are recognized as living sub-personality fragments of its own identity whose reality simultaneously takes place with the dimensional bands contained within the soul-self’s DNA.  The DNA represents electro-magnetically encoded digital imprints of the other living portions of your identity.         
    **Note 2: Reincarnation occurs only in the first Harmonic Universe. “You reincarnate into multiple forms and situations because one lifetime is in no way sufficient time, nor does it offer sufficient exposures to enough diverse situations to give the fragment-spirit the understanding necessary.  The best way to learn about poverty, or being rich, or being helpless, or being powerful, or being female, or being male is by experiencing lifetimes in such circumstances.”  Book source: Andareon Theory communication.
    “Consciousness and matter are both composed of these units of electro-tonal energy and so both spiritual and scientific mastery are brought together through the applied knowledge of electro-tonal energy dynamics.   For the smallest units of energy in the cosmos you could find 800 billion billion units in an average 3 dimensional photon.  They represent the “divine substance” out of which the cosmos is composed.
    “There is an organizational intelligence and sentient creative force of vast proportion that is responsible for the design and creation of the cosmos, i.e., the Central Creative Force you call God***.   Members of the benevolent Guardian Alliance (Note: who communicated this book) are beings from higher reality fields, dimensions ten through fifteen, who have evolved beyond the manifestation of biology, physical and etheric matter substance into states of conscious pre-matter form who appear as forms of light when they enter your system**** or, occasionally take on the appearance of biological forms in order to interact with Earth life, for example: Jesus from the 12th dimension. 
    ***Note 3: The GOD of the Old Testament Yahweh was an Ancient Astronaut as demonstrated by the Jewish-American scholar Zecharia Sitchin who authored multiple books based on historical Middle Eastern archeological hieroglyphic interpretations.
    ****Note 4: The above afterlife “system” description is supported in the website which contains details on souls, reincarnation, DNA and dimensions (density), particularly Dimension Four.
    Book #2. “The Treasure of El Dorado” Chapter 7.  The Bodies of Man. EXCERPTS from dictated communications by Ascended Masters.  Joseph Whitfield 213 pages.  Available through
    “The value of the TREASURE is literally priceless since it could not be purchased with all the material wealth of all worlds. The asset is the SECRET OF OVERCOMING DEATH.
    “Few indeed are aware of the totality of their being. Existing within and around the physical bodies are IMPERISHABLE bodies.  These other bodies interpenetrate the physical body as well as extend beyond it. The various bodies which constitute the total potential of all developing human beings are: the physical matter body, the astral (antimatter) body, the etheric (Christ) body, the mental body and the emotional body.  It is these other bodies that constitute the phenomenon referred to as an aura (NOTE: Which has been proven to exist by special photographic techniques, see Wikipedia aura paranormal). The reason that the aura is not readily seen by most people is that its range of vibration renders it invisible to the physical eye. One’s CONSCIOUSNESS and other higher faculties reside in this “spiritual” (frequency existing) body and are INDESTRUCTIBLE.
    “WHEN PHYSICAL DEATH OCCURS, THESE OTHER BODIES LEAVE THE PHYSICAL BODY AS A UNIT AND BECOME THE OPERABLE VEHICLE THROUGH WHICH THE CONSCIOUSNESS CONTINUES TO FUNCTION IN OTHER DIMENSIONS!  While one is no longer physically incarnated, the astral body houses the other bodies after the transition called death. Unlike the physical body, however, the astral body is inviolable, (i.e.,incorruptible).
    “Let us examine some of the functions which the various aspects of the astral body serve while one is physically incarnated.  The subconscious is the mechanism which performs those vital functions that produce automatic actions and reactions on the physical level. Examples of this would be breathing, beating of the heart, blinking of the eyelids, digesting, etc. It is the subconscious which permits the formation of habits and which must be reprogrammed in order to break habits and existing beliefs.  The subconscious however does not have the capacity for rational thought.  Everything that is recorded in the brain is also recorded in the subconscious.  The subconscious contains total memory information FROM ALL PREVIOUS LIVES AND EXPERIENCES (as recorded in the energetic DNA).
    “The brain is the memory bank while physically incarnated. The subconscious mind is the memory bank for your total experiences. Whatever is recorded in the brain is recorded automatically in the subconscious as well.
    “Consider that quality of the astral body that is called soul.  Think of a cassette tape (i.e., the energetic DNA).  When the tape is blank, it can be said to contain no soul.  Now fill it with recordings.  What we have done is to impart attributes to a previously empty cassette.  We have thus CREATED SOUL.  When the life ends, the tape (i.e., the surviving energetic DNA) is filled with that essence called SOUL.  Within the total soul are many completed “tapes” containing the records of all incarnational experiences.  The completed “tapes” form the memory bank, or the akashic record of each individual being.  Whatever information is contained (from past lives), whether it be good or evil, true or false, right or wrong, correct or incorrect, can and does influence your well-being in your present life.  This is why many people go through lifetime after lifetime making the same mistakes over and over again.  In summary, the subconscious and the soul lack discernment. They cannot reason.
    “The conscious part of your mental body provides you with the powers of thinking.  Thinking is the capacity to discern, reason, rationalize, to exercise self-discipline, to deduce, to employ logic, to analyze, inquire, synthesize, judge, investigate, observe, etc.  THE BRAIN IS NOT THE MIND.  It is one of the instruments that the mind uses while you are manifested in the physical planes (dimensions) of expression.  The mental body has three distinct parts or levels: the conscious, the subconscious, and the superconscious.  A primary function of the mind or mental body is to produce awareness, an incredible tool in the development of potential.  As a component of the mental body, the subconscious has the ability and the capacity to record all sensual, mental, and emotional, and spiritual experiences and to “play back” this information, functioning like a tape recorder (i.e. the DNA).
    “The etheric (or Christ) body has been described by enlightened writers.  Often referred to as the light body due to the effect produced in the atomic structure of this body by the speed of the electron movement within the atoms which equals or exceeds the speed of light.  Achieving the status of etheric (or Christhood) confers upon the recipient many powers not found in the lesser bodies. Jesus represents the best example in history.  Among the powers he was known to have demonstrated were: bilocation, levitation, materialization, healing, etc.  Jesus constantly reminded his followers that they could do all of these and even greater things.
    “When one achieves the full etheric (or Christ) vibration, then death will no longer have dominion over him.  It gives him the power to alter his vibrations at will, and thus he can freely travel through the physical, astral and etheric vibrations.
    “It is the emotional body that gives you a feeling nature, i.e., that produces the capacity for experiencing all levels of emotion such as joy and sorrow, love and hate, compassion and malevolence, ecstacy and depression, pleasure and pain, excitement and indifference. The emotional capacity is experienced on all levels of expression.
    “The superconscious is the functioning mind of the etheric or Christ self.  What is required is that man of earth become aware of the existence of the incredible power of the superconscious mind and desire its attainment. To give you some idea of the scope of the superconscious mind, think of a rating scale numbered from 1 to 10 as representing the range of man’s conscious mind in Earth. Then classify the most outstanding geniuses of Earth history using 10 as the ultimate that is attainable. You will find that such men as Einstein, Swedenborg, Whitman, etc., would be rated from perhaps 7 through 9. By comparison, a pure state of superconsciousness would range into the hundreds or thousands. It is quite easy to conclude from this, is it not, that the means exist to literally transform Earth into a paradise by educating mankind as to its potential.
    “These bodies constitute man’s potential as he continues to evolve within the “system.”  Each aspect of our total self is indispensable to the function and purpose of our total being.  
    OTHER REINFORCING BOOKS: *** most favored among hundreds researched
    Above Concepts based on my “knowledge” research were confirmed in Australian Michel Desmarquet’s abduction to a highly advanced planetary culture (see below)
    ***Abduction to the 9th Planet, republished under title “Thiaoouba Prophecy” by Michel Desmarquet, Arafura Publishing, Australia He was abducted physically in 1987 for nine days by the spiritually most highly evolved and most technically developed planet in our galaxy. He confirmed and detailed the existence of IMPERISHABLE aura, reincarnation, and astral/etheric
    afterlife on progressively more advance planets !! Excerpts below.
    “Your Astral body, which inhabits every normal human being, transfers to its higher-self all the sensations that are experienced during a lifetime in a physical body. A normal human Astral body contains approximately four billion, trillion electrons, exactly marrying your physical shape.
    “The more you cultivate your mind, the less you will be burdened by your physical body and the quicker you will proceed through your cycle of lives. Regarding the problems of your planet, Michel, the solution depends on love, not money. People need to rise above hate, resentment, jealousy and envy, and put their neighbor before themselves.
    “There are nine categories of planets. You are on the planet Thiaooabu which is the top of the scale. Earth is a planet of the first category which could be likened to a kindergarten. We are one of three planets which are the most highly evolved.
    Zetatalk by Nancy Lieder, Granet Publishing, dictated by benevolent extraterrestrials
     also see website, Section Density, i.e. Dimensions
    ***An Ascension Handbook by Tony Stubbs, Oughten Hse Pub’g, channeled from Serapis Bey
    The Science of the Soul by Robert Siblerud, Sacred Science Publishers
    The Infinite MIND by Valerie V. Hunt: The Science of Human Vibrations of Consciousness, Malibu Publishing
    The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, Harper Perennial
    ***Andareon Theory by Robert Gidel, Andareon Foundation Press, dictated by Andar Group
    After We Die, What Then by George Meek, electronics engineer, Ariel Press
    A Lawyer Presents the Case for Afterlife, by Victor Zammit, Gammell Pty, Ltd.,Australia
     also see website
    Extraterrestrials in Biblical Prophecy by G. Cope Schellhorn, Horus House Press
    ***The Yahweh Encounters – Controversial Bible Interpretation, by Ann Madden Jones
    Extraterrestrial Contact – the Evidence and Implications by Steven Greer, Cross Point Publishers
    Gods, Genes & Consciousness – Nonhuman Interventiion in Human History
      by Paul Von Ward, Hampton Roads
    A Seth Reader, by Richard Roberts, Vernal Equinox Press
    The Only Planet of Choice, by Phyllis Schlemmer, Gateway Books, Bath, UK
    Vibrational Medicine, by Richard Gerber, Chapters 1 & 4, Bear & Co.
    Light After Life by Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, Backbone Publishing Miracles of the Storm – Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC), by Mark Macy See website: World
    PS: Pass this along if you are so inclined. Promotion encouraged, but this is NOT for total re-publication in books, magazines, professional journals, etc. without source approval. Short quotes or references OK. DJS


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