Quotes of interest -- beware single citations and non-citations.

As readers who have been following the Quotes of interest series will know, I have been arguing that from the discovery of repetitive DNA until at least the mid-1980s, the general expectation was that it must somehow be functional for the organism. By 1989 or 1990, we start to see claims that noncoding sequences [...]


Quotes of interest -- 1970s edition (part one).

I have argued that prior to 1980, when the selfish DNA hypothesis was proposed, it was taken more or less as a given by most biologists that noncoding DNA had some function(s), even if the specific adaptive significance of these sequences had yet to be demonstrated. This was based on simple Darwinian, adaptationist logic: [...]


Quotes of interest -- Alu.

Whereas each copy of the human genome contains about 20,000 protein-coding genes, it is also home to more than 1 million copies of a short interspersed repetitive element (SINE) known as Alu. For this reason, Doolittle (1997), perhaps only half jokingly, suggested that the genomes of humans “might be ironically viewed as vehicles for [...]


Quotes of interest -- Ohno (1973) and discussion.

The term “junk DNA” was coined by Susumu Ohno in conference presentations at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York and in Rhein, Germany, which were printed in conference proceedings volumes a short time later (Ohno 1972, 1973). Ohno used the term “junk DNA” only once per article (in the titles), and most [...]


Quotes of interest -- satellite DNA.

Satellite DNA, also known as tandemly repeated DNA, represents a diverse class of highly repetitive elements consisting of clusters of short repeated sequences. The general category of satellite DNA is now divided into several categories according to the size of the individual repeats, though the specific classification scheme can vary among authors. Thus, one [...]


Quotes of interest -- science news stories.

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 [...]


Quotes of interest -- 1980s edition (part two).

This is the second installment in the quotes of interest series that focuses in particular on research and discussions from the 1980s, when noncoding DNA supposedly was ignored as irrelevant. The important message being offered is that there was plenty of research into possible functions or lack thereof in noncoding sequences of all types, [...]


Quotes of interest -- pseudogene.

The term “pseudogene” was coined by Jacq and colleagues in 1977. The standard tale of biologists dogmatically ignoring possible functions of noncoding DNA would have it that such a sequence automatically would be dismissed as “junk” when discovered, especially since the notion of a degraded and now non-coding former gene matches Ohno’s concept of [...]


Quotes of interest -- Nobel Prize special edition.

The story we have been told by creationists and neo-Panglossian scientists is that most if not all noncoding DNA is functional and that this fact has been obscured by long neglect in the scientific community of the potential importance of noncoding elements. In particular, the “junk DNA” and “selfish DNA” ideas put forth in [...]


Quotes of interest -- long neglected, some noncoding DNA is actually functional.

I have started a series listing quotes from papers published during the supposed period of neglect of noncoding DNA that, we are told repeatedly by authors of various persuasions, was inspired by the “junk DNA” and “selfish DNA” ideas. For this installment, I want to quote at length from one article which represents a [...]