80%* of the genome is functional*!

You’re going to be hearing a lot about the ENCODE project for the next little while. 30 papers were released today, and there is plenty of media attention already. Lots of it is of the standard “it’s not junk after all!” variety. Of particular note in most reports is the claim by the ENCODE […]

In defence of Mattick.

This comment was posted in defence of John Mattick, but it was on an older post so I thought it would be better to put it up front in a new post. I (and others) have talked about the problems with Mattick’s distortion of the history of junk DNA research, his convenient interpretation of […]

Eddie-Baby does it again.

If you’d like to see what a very good story about non-coding DNA with an intriguing function looks like, head on over to Not Exactly Rocket Science and see Ed “Eddie-Baby” Yong’s* piece called “Under three layers of junk, the secret to a fatal brain disease“.




Making something of junk earns geneticist top award.

Making something of junk earns geneticist top award

When Sydney geneticist John Mattick suggested junk DNA was anything but rubbish he was challenging an assumption that had underpinned genetics for 50 years.

”The ideas I put forward 10 years ago were quite radical but I thought I was right,” Professor Mattick said.

He […]

PZ Myers on junk DNA.

PZ Myers, who apparently has a blog or something, gave a talk about junk DNA.

Favourite part: the Onion test followed by a Simpsons reference (at 37:00). Can’t ask for more than that! (Incidentally, PZ gets the onion test right — it’s about onions vs. humans AND onions vs. other onions; see also […]

Grumble grumble… media… evolution… junk DNA… grumble.

Busy, but need to vent a little about these stories.

1. New evolutionary research disproves living missing link theories

Evolution is not a steady march towards ever more sophisticated beings and therefore the search for the living “missing links” is pointless, according to findings published by a team of researchers led by Dr. HervĂ© […]


For some time, I have wanted a new term for the broad category of DNA otherwise commonly referred to as “junk DNA”, i.e., everything other than genes and gene regulatory elements. “Non-coding DNA” is about the best option I have seen, in that it refers to DNA that does not encode a protein relevant […]

Mattick on transposable element function.

John Mattick, University of Queensland, is one of the leading proponents of the idea that much — perhaps most — of the human genome is functional. He has been making claims along these lines for at least 15 years, but seems to always present it as a new idea. Readers of this blog may […]

Good on ya, New Scientist!

From their recent special Unknown genome: What we still don’t know about our DNA, New Scientist gets it right with the following blurb:


Once the vast majority of our DNA was dismissed as junk, but now we know it is important – or so you might have […]

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 […]