At Least 80% Of Our Junk DNA Is Not Junk

That’s the news, as reported in the New York Times recently. This ought to make a splash in the debate between evolutionary biologists and intelligent design theorists. For more on this, see here [NYT website link]. And to read a biologist who appears quite confident the NYT article is bunk, see here.

As for the intelligent design crowd, here’s an example of how they spin “junk DNA.” This was posted by the Discovery Institute a year ago (long before the recent news):

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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4 Responses to At Least 80% Of Our Junk DNA Is Not Junk

  1. Gato Precambriano says:

    Do the IDiots explain why the hell onions need 5x more DNA than humans? Not holding my breath

  2. themayan says:

    I think the article cited by poster of this article has been misinterpreted. The dispute is not that bio function has been found in the genome, but rather the arthur disputes this is somehow new news. He like T Ryan Gregory claim that we have known about function for a while, and this may be true, but not to this extent, and what he doesn’t admit, is that much of the evidence for function was largely ignored by the status quo who instead tried for many years to use the junk DNA paradigm as a poster child for bad design.

    Example below…..“Intelligent design cannot explain the presence of a nonfunctional pseudogene, unless it is willing to allow that the designer made serious errors, wasting millions of bases of DNA on a blueprint full of junk and scribbles. Evolution, however, can explain them easily”…… Kenneth Miller.

    As for C Value enigma/paradox which is an example of another failed prediction which refuted what many defenders of the modern synthesis once thought in that complexity in eukaryotes could be determined by genome size, was actually also found to be false, and keep in mind, C Value enigma/paradox is only problematic for the modern evolutionary synthesis and not for intelligent design.

    People can belly ache all they want, but this is a clear example of ID theorist accurately predicting the demise of the junk DNA paradigme, and also keep in mind, while the people at Eddy Rivas lab may criticize the way the New York Times reported the finding, they stay critically silent concerning the multiple papers published in Nature and in Science (after the embargo was lifted) which published the official eulogy of ENCODE as follows…….

    Science 7 September 2012:
    Vol. 337 no. 6099 pp. 1159-1161
    DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6099.1159
    ENCODE Project Writes Eulogy for Junk DNA
    . Elizabeth Pennisi
    “This week, 30 research papers, including six in Nature and additional papers published online byScience, sound the death knell for the idea that our DNA is mostly littered with useless bases. A decade-long project, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), has found that 80% of the human genome serves some purpose, biochemically speaking. Beyond defining proteins, the DNA bases highlighted by ENCODE specify landing spots for proteins that influence gene activity, strands of RNA with myriad roles, or simply places where chemical modifications serve to silence stretches of our chromosomes” end

    I also include papers cited years before ENCODES release which also speak of junk as being the wrong term.

    “Prof. John Mattick, recently claimed that, ‘the failure to recognize the implications of the non-coding DNA will go down as the biggest mistake in the history of molecular biology’ [Genius of Junk (DNA), Catalyst, Thursday, 10 July 2003]”

    Junk DNA’ Can Sense Viral Infection: Promising Tool in the Battle Between Pathogen and Host
    ScienceDaily (Apr. 24, 2012) — “Once considered unimportant “junk DNA,” scientists have learned that non-coding RNA (ncRNA) — RNA molecules that do not translate into proteins — play a crucial role in cellular function. Mutations in ncRNA ”

    Transposons, or Jumping Genes: Not Junk DNA?
    By: Leslie Pray, Ph.D. © 2008 Nature Education 

    “Citation: Pray, L. (2008) Transposons, or jumping genes: Not junk DNA? Nature Education 1(1)
    For decades, scientists dismissed transposable elements, also known as transposons or “jumping genes”, as useless “junk DNA”. But are they really?”

    The Role of Noncoding “Junk DNA” in Cardiovascular Disease
    . Kasey C. Vickers1, Brian T. Palmisano1 and Alan T. Remaley1
    “The complete sequencing of the human genome has revealed many mysteries on how aberrations in gene structure and regulation contribute to disease. One of the most unforeseen and potentially revolutionary findings since the complete annotation of the human genome is the complexity of noncoding DNA. What was once considered “junk DNA” now holds the keys to many novel gene regulatory mechanisms, and genetic variation”……….

  3. themayan says:

    Please excuse misspellings like arthur, which should have read author, as well as other grammatical errors. Did not have time to edit.

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