Is there junk in the genome?

Many people believe that the vast majority of the human genome is functionless. This part of the genome is generally referred to as noncoding DNA, but has also been labeled junk DNA. There is mounting evidence, however, to suggest that these genetic sequences are biologically important.

A recent paper – the reason for the design of this site – suggests that the amount of noncoding DNA (or junk DNA) per genome is a more accurate indicator of biological complexity than either gene number or genome size. It is therefore highly likely that these sequences are functional, and the idea of “junk” DNA may need to be trashed.

It is the goal of this website to pickup where most manuscripts leave off. To help decipher the role of noncoding DNA this website will facilitate the dissemination of data related to the ideas of functional or functionless noncoding DNA, and serve as a hub for information about the latest in noncoding news and research.

What does all this mean? Click here for a brief introduction to genetics.

“Are we letting a philosophy of the gene control [our] reasoning? What, then, is the philosophy of the gene? Is it a valid philosophy?…There has been too much acceptance of one philosophy without questioning the origin of this philosophy. When one starts to question the reasoning behind the origin of the present notion of the gene (held by most geneticists) the opportunity for questioning its validity becomes apparent.”
Barbara McClintock, Nobel Prize winner
Letter to Marcus Rhoades, 1950