Were introns immediately dismissed as useless junk?

In a recent paper, Morris and Mattick (2014) claim that:

“The discovery of introns in 1977  was perhaps the biggest surprise in the history of molecular biology, as no one expected that the genes of higher organisms would be mosaics of coding and non-coding sequences, all of which are transcribed. However, the prevailing concept [...]

Stephen Jay Gould conference in Italy — full series of talks.

The complete series of talks is now posted from the conference on Stephen J. Gould’s Legacy: Nature, History, Society, May 10-12, 2012 at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Venice, Italy.

Telmo Pievani – Ten years without Stephen J. Gould: the scientific heritage

Niles Eldredge – Stephen Jay Gould in the [...]

A Gouldian View of the Genome (Venice, Italy, May 10, 2012)

Here is the video of my talk at the Stephen J. Gould’s Legacy: Nature, History, Society meeting held at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Venice, Italy.

More viruses within vertebrate genomes.

A short time ago, my colleague Derek Taylor of SUNY Buffalo published a paper reporting the presence of ebola virus remnants in mammalian genomes. Now another paper with a similar message has been published.

Both papers are open access.

Belyi et al. Unexpected Inheritance: Multiple Integrations of Ancient Bornavirus and Ebolavirus/Marburgvirus Sequences in Vertebrate [...]

Genomic battle scars of viral infection.

My colleague (and former PhD student in the same lab where I did my PhD, though not overlapping) Derek Taylor of SUNY Buffalo has published a very interesting paper indicating that relatives of the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses can be found in the genomes of other mammals, including bats and wallabies.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100702152411.htm [...]

Kudos on the placozoan genome!

Trichoplax adhaerens is a bizarre little animal with a decidedly simple morphology. (You can see some here). There has been some question as to the relationship between this critter and other animal groups, but mitochondrial sequences (Dellaporta et al. 2006) and, as of this week, a complete nuclear genome sequence (Srivastava et al. 2008), [...]

Non-functional DNA: non-functional vs. inconsequential.

Each copy of the human genome consists of about 3,200,000,000 base pairs, and includes about 500,000 repeats of the LINE-1 transposable element (a LINE) and twice as many copies of Alu (a SINE), as compared to around 20,000 protein-coding genes. Whereas protein-coding regions represent about 1.5% of the genome, about half is made up [...]

Non-functional DNA: quantity.

In my previous post, I noted that because of what we understand about the nature, origins, and cross-taxon quantitative diversity of the various sorts of non-genic DNA in large eukaryote genomes, the default assumption is that much or even most of it is not functional at the cell and organism levels. Thus, the burden [...]

Dinosaurs made from pseudogenes?

Matt Ridley, author of such books as The Red Queen, Genome, and The Origins of Virtue (and not to be confused with biologist Mark Ridley), asks the question “Will we clone a dinosaur?” in Time Magazine. His answer, at least in terms of the Jurassic Park sense of cloning a dinosaur from ancient DNA, [...]

Genome size, code bloat, and proof-by-analogy — a response.

Some of you may remember the post from Dec. 1, 2007, on Genome size, code bloat, and proof-by-analogy (which was posted on DNA and Diversity also). This post referred to a computer study published in the online, non-peer-reviewed arXiv database by Feverati and Musso (2007). Recently, Dr. Musso has been kind enough to provide [...]