The junk DNA collection.

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, […]


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 […]


Non-functional DNA: the burden of proof.

If one studies a genome sequence and comes across a region that is of the length and arrangement of a protein-encoding gene, and is enclosed but not interrupted by start and stop codons, then one can reasonably infer that this sequence is likely to be functional, even if no other evidence is yet in […]


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, […]


Junk at Sandwalk.

Anyone who reads this blog but not Sandwalk (if any) should go right now and see Larry’s posts on junk DNA. Although I do not care so much for the term “junk DNA” because often it is employed ambiguously, Larry is careful to define it explicitly as sequences for which the evidence indicates nonfunction. […]


Incidental DNA revisited.

Note – this post has been updated since originally posted.

In the recent exchange regarding my post about genome size and code bloat, one of the authors of the study in question made the following claim: In its conclusion prof. Gregory suggests that we claim that “Non-coding DNA doesaccumulate “so that” it will result […]


Signs of function in non-coding RNAs in mouse brain.

Over on his blog, Greg Laden points to some new work by John Mattick’s group on non-coding RNA expression in mouse brains. It’s interesting stuff, and worth a look. Please bear in mind as you do, however, that non-protein-coding but functional RNA is nothing new. Ribosomes are made of non-coding RNA, for one thing. […]


Junk DNA and ID redux.

Just a reminder, these are the important points under discussion:

* Proponents of ID themselves clearly suggest that “junk DNA” will mostly or all be functional.

* No unambiguous explanation has been given for why ID must assume that non-coding DNA is functional, especially since they say nothing can be known about the designer […]


Is most of the human genome functional?

I first became interested in genome size because of its tie-ins with important evolutionary questions in which I was (and still am) interested, such as punctuated vs. gradual patterns, levels of selection, and adaptive vs. non-adaptive processes. What I didn’t realize was that one component of the question, the quantity of DNA that is […]


Genome size, code bloat, and proof-by-analogy.

I recently did an interview with New Scientist for what, I am happy to say, was one of the most reasonable popular reviews of “junk DNA” that has appeared in recent times (Pearson 2007). My small section appeared in a box entitled “Survival of the fattest”, in which most of the discussion related to […]