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Cod gene puzzle: At least no one is claiming it is “junk DNA”

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large codfish/Sissel Jentoft, UiO

From ScienceDaily:

Researchers at the University of Oslo (UiO) keep discovering surprises in the Atlantic cod genome. The most recent study has revealed an unusual amount of short and identical DNA sequences, which might give cod an evolutionary advantage.

Or else it is something the cod could live with or else it makes no difference at present. If we don’t have any very definite information, why talk about “evolutionary advantage” at all?


“We have already found a fish species that has even more tandem repeats than cod, namely the related haddock. Both cod (Latin name: Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) are members of the cod family (Gadidae). This may indicate that the whole group has an increased proportion of such repetitions,” adds Nederbragt. Paper. (public access) – Ole K. Tørresen, Bastiaan Star, Sissel Jentoft, William B. Reinar, Harald Grove, Jason R. Miller, Brian P. Walenz, James Knight, Jenny M. Ekholm, Paul Peluso, Rolf B. Edvardsen, Ave Tooming-Klunderud, Morten Skage, Sigbjørn Lien, Kjetill S. Jakobsen, Alexander J. Nederbragt. An improved genome assembly uncovers prolific tandem repeats in Atlantic cod. BMC Genomics, 2017; 18 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-3448-x [plus 2 more] More.

The good thing is: If we don’t hear so much now about “junk DNA” (a presumed vast library of Darwinian detritus) we can more easily clarify how we would determine “evolutionary advantage.”

See also: Junk RNA helps embryos sort themselves out

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5 Replies to “Cod gene puzzle: At least no one is claiming it is “junk DNA”

  1. 1
    wd400 says:

    Or else it is something the cod could live with…

    You mean, they could be the result of some kind of process in whcih mutations arise, have no measurable effect on the organisms that carry them and so inevitably accumulate over time despite regardless of biological function. Yes, I suppose that’s possible. Good thing no one is talking about junk DNA though…

  2. 2
    J-Mac says:

    Cod gene puzzle: At least no one is claiming it is “junk DNA”.

    It remains to be seen…Larry Moran is writing a book on this particular issue and who knows what he has up his sleeve…

  3. 3
    News says:

    wd400 (but, more likely, anyone who is listening), an assumption, if made, that repeated sequences are “junk” is just that – an assumption. It is based on a prior conception of how life develops over time, not on evidence.

    Is an accumulation of information more like dust on the ledge or notes to a manual? There is no reason to prefer one assumption to the other just now, except philosophy of biology.

  4. 4
    wd400 says:

    I guess it’s true than an assumption is an assumption.

    Just had to laugh at the someone positing these sequences might be junk DNA in the same post they exclaim that no one is claiming they are junk!

    (It hardly matters, but there is lots of good evidence that most repetitive DNA is junk.)

  5. 5

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