In one sense, I am happy that there is enough interest in the concept of “junk DNA” (and by extension, my area of research in genome size evolution) that the subject gets regular media attention. A few months ago, it was all about the ENCODE project and its “finding” of “function” for 80% of [...]
I sometimes get asked if non-coding elements (usually “junk DNA” is what they say) can ever evolve into genes. I usually say that transposable elements, at least, can be coopted into functional roles, and that it wouldn’t be so odd if a pseudogene took on a novel function sometime through mutations. Kind of a [...]
Reporting on Solovei et al (2009) We show that the nuclear architecture of rod photoreceptor cells differs fundamentally in nocturnal and diurnal mammals. The rods of diurnal retinas possess the conventional architecture found in nearly all eukaryotic cells, with most heterochromatin situated at the [...]
This appeared in my weekly automated journal search. I have ordered the paper as I can’t find an online copy, but the abstract pretty much covers what the argument will be. Same old pre-1980s adaptationist idea presented as radically novel. Mallik, M. and Lakhotia, S.C. 2008. Noncoding DNA is not “junk” but a necessity [...]
Just for fun, here are some quotes I came across while reading a few sources for a paper I am writing.
Remember, a significant number of creationists, science writers, and molecular biologists want us to believe that non-coding DNA was totally ignored after the term “junk DNA” was published in 1972, that the [...]
We have been told in science news stories since the early 1990s that biologists long neglected the potential significance of noncoding DNA. (Sadly, this is in line with the claims made by creationists, who claim that “Darwinism” is to blame despite the obvious fact that Darwinian adaptationism would expect functions. Some biologists likewise play [...]
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 [...]
In this post, I will maintain an up to date list of substantive posts dealing with the topic of “junk DNA” on this blog and various others.
Genomicron Junk DNA – the quotes of interest series Non-functional DNA: the burden of proof Non-functional DNA: quantity Non-functional DNA: non-functional vs. inconsequential MASHing junk DNA Function, [...]