Ewan Birney has a new post up on his blog about reaction to the ENCODE publications and the associated media extravaganza last week. Unfortunately, it adds very little of substance to the discussion and most of the main criticisms are dodged again. But, the one redeeming feature of the post is the following comment left by “Sparc”, which nails the problem exactly:
IMHO the issue is not the precission of ENCODE’s definition of “function” but rather about the fact that ENCODE ignored the well established and defined concept of Junk DNA. It’s as if some geographer would define hills with height over base > 100m as mountains. This would transform the majority of the world’s surface into mountains. It is obvious that this wouldn’t make sense even if the given definition is very precise.