From Veronique Greenwood at Quanta:
By knocking out genes three at a time, scientists have painstakingly deduced the web of genetic interactions that keeps a cell alive. Researchers long ago identified essential genes that yeast cells can’t live without, but new work, which appears today in Science, shows that looking only at those gives a skewed picture of what makes cells tick: Many genes that are inessential on their own become crucial as others disappear. The result implies that the true minimum number of genes that yeast — and perhaps, by extension, other complex organisms — need to survive and thrive may be surprisingly large.
“Perhaps what we’re sampling here,” Andrews said, “are some functional connections in the cell that we weren’t able to see before.”
One set of new connections, for example, was between genes involved in transporting proteins and genes involved in DNA repair. On the surface, it’s difficult to see what would connect these two functions. And in fact, the researchers still don’t have a mechanistic explanation. But they are sure there is one. “Our immediate reaction was, ‘Well, that’s kind of random,’” Andrews said. “But we’ve learned over the course of doing this project that it’s not random. We just don’t understand how the cell is connected.” More.
Note: One junk DNA defender just isn’t doing politeness anymore. In a less Darwinian science workplace, that could become more a problem for him than for his colleagues.
See also: “Junk” RNA helps regulate metabolism
Junk DNA defender just isn’t doing politeness any more.
Anyone remember ENCODE? Not much junk DNA? Still not much. (Paper is open access.)
Yes, Darwin’s followers did use junk DNA as an argument for their position.
Another response to Darwin’s followers’ attack on the “not-much-junk-DNA” ENCODE findings