Science

Junk DNA?

[#if authorProfileImage??]
    [#if authorProfileImage?is_hash]
        [#if authorProfileImage.alt??]
            ${authorProfileImage.alt}
        [/#if]
    [/#if]
[/#if]
Author Melinda Penner Published on 11/04/2013

A frequent objection to a Designer of the universe and life is junk DNA. Darwinists claim that this DNA that has no apparent purpose is leftover residue from epochs of evolution, and they claim that a Designer would not have been so wasteful.

New studies are finding, however, that this DNA isn’t junk, and actually has a purpose. A recently published study finds that it regulates the other genes that have a more obvious purpose. One person described this DNA as the operating system for the rest.

A story in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News reports:

[A] report adds to growing experimental support for the idea that all that extra stuff in the human genes, once referred to as “junk DNA,” is more than functionless, space-filling material that happens to make up nearly 98% of the genome. The paper adds to a growing body of knowledge establishing a considerable role for this material in the regulation of gene expression and its potential role in human disease...

Back in the old days, the general wisdom had it that introns loaded into the human genome were basically useless. While some noncoding DNA is transcribed in noncoding RNA, such as transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, regulatory RNA, or endogenous retroviruses, others produce RNA with no known function or identified utility to the cell.

But over the past few years, as high-powered analytical tools and genomic information have become available, the function of introns, such as transcription factor recognition sequences, has become better understood. And, as John Stamatoyannopoulos, M.D., associate professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington, points out, while only about 2% of the human genome codes for proteins, “Hidden in the remaining 98 percent are instructions that basically tell the genes how to switch on and off.” His laboratory focuses on disease-associated variants in regulatory regions of DNA.