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 […]

Susumu Ohno did not coin the term “junk DNA” — a must-read by Dan Graur.


Anyone interested in the topic of “junk DNA” should go and read this fine piece of detective work by Dan Graur immediately!



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 […]

Thorough takedown of the supposed connection between Darwin and Nazism.

It has been a common tactic among creationists to attempt to discredit scientific ideas by linking them to the horrific actions of the likes of Hitler and the Nazis. The scientific merits of a theory do not rest on its societal implications, of course, but there is also the issue that the Nazis did […]

Arlin Stoltzfus and The Curious Disconnect.

In case you haven’t been following the series of posts by evolutionary biologist Dr. Arlin Stoltzfus posted on Sandwalk, here is a list hosted at his own site:

The Curious Disconnect: Introduction (March 19, 2010). The Mutationism Myth 1. The Monk’s Lost Code and the Great Confusion (March 29, 2010) describes how the mutationism […]

Darwin caricatures.

Darwin’s views are often misrepresented to the point of caricature, as we all know, but there have also been plenty of examples of literal caricature of Darwin in the popular media. I recently gave some talks about evolutionary imagery, which included popular press cartoons from the 1800s that had a common theme of caricaturing […]

Lamarck in Nature.

In yesterday’s issue of Nature, Dan Graur and co-authors provide a “book review” of Lamarck’s 1809 treatise Philosophie Zoologique. It’s not so much a literary review per se as a brief essay on Lamarck’s unflattering and unwarranted legacy. Lamarck was the first to propose a scientific theory of evolution, and he coined the terms […]

Lamarck on Genome Research (2004).

I came across this cover of the journal Genome Research from 2004. Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon where expression of a gene in this generation depends on whether it resided in a male or female the previous generation, a Lamarckian-like inheritance (portrait: Jean Baptiste Lamarck). Comparative phylogenetic footprint analysis of mammalian species from […]

Again with the Lamarckism…

Press release from the Quarterly Review of Biology. 100 Reasons to Change How We Think About Genetics Article Reviews Evidence for Epigenetic Inheritance in Wide Range of Species For years, genes have been considered the one and only way biological traits could be passed down through generations of organisms.

Not anymore.

Increasingly, biologists are […]

Abigail Lustig testimony in Texas.

I feel very strongly that scientists should know the history of their discipline, as this is of substantial importance in guiding new research and preventing the same tired arguments from continually resurfacing (case in point, the myth that “junk DNA” was dismissed as totally nonfunctional or that epigenetics represents “neo-Lamarckism”). In this sense, the […]