Max Libbrecht on ENCODE’s results regarding junk DNA.

Max Libbrecht is a PhD student at the University of Washington, and was one of the several hundred researchers involved in the ENCODE project. I have already mentioned Max because of his important comments on ENCODE and junk DNA elsewhere on the interwebs. I mentioned that he would be welcome to write a guest […]

ENCODE spokesperson: 40%, not 80%.

Here’s a very interesting quote, provided by Faye Flam at Knight Science Journalism. (Emphasis mine)

I decided … I would go back to ENCODE biologist John Stamatoyannopoulos, who was quoted in the first wave of news. He said he thought the skeptics hadn’t fully understood the papers, and that some of the activity measured […]

More ENCODE videos.

In addition to the cringe-inducing cartoon sponsored by Nature, here are some other videos that have been put out about the ENCODE results. You tell me who you think is responsible for propagating the claim that ENCODE found that “80% of the genome is functional” and that it has overturned the notion of “junk […]

New Scientist on junk DNA.

In terms of articles on the topic of junk DNA, New Scientist has consistently been among the most even-handed and accurate. Here is a list of examples from the magazine:

The ever deepening mystery of the human genome

Don’t junk the ‘junk DNA’ just yet

Why ‘junk DNA’ may be useful after all

Unknown […]

Comments on Birney’s blog.

Ewan Birney, lead coordinator of ENCODE, has a blog. I thought I might re-post a couple of comments from there on here.

First, a weird criticism of me from someone calling himself “TheMayan”. He has written similar things in the comments on my blog. (Don’t you just love the confidence that a pseudonym provides?)


Junk DNA theme song.

Whenever I read a claim that non-coding DNA was long dismissed as useless junk but now is turning out to have important functions, this song runs through my head.

Our Friend the Atom, er, ENCODE.

Nature (2012):

Disney (1957):

AT&T (1948):

Sherwin-Williams (1946):

Plus ça change…

Good reads about ENCODE.

For an antidote to the massive hype surrounding ENCODE, have a look at these excellent pieces:

The ever deepening mystery of the human genome by Linda Geddes (New Scientist) and be sure to see this editorial: Don’t junk the ‘junk DNA’ just yet

Most of what you read was wrong: how press releases rewrote […]

Are critics exaggerating ENCODE’s emphasis on function?

Here and there in the blogosphere, people have begun defending ENCODE against criticism by noting that there is a lot more to the project than just the claim that 80% of the genome is functional. That’s just the media, they say, whereas that was only a small part of the actual study.

Well, […]

Birney dodges but Sparc nails it.

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 […]