… and shows no signs of slowing.”
Yes, more from that commentary at Nature on the 20th anniversary of the Human Genome Project:
[I]t is now appreciated that the majority of functional sequences in the human genome do not encode proteins. Rather, elements such as long non-coding RNAs, promoters, enhancers and countless gene-regulatory motifs work together to bring the genome to life. Variation in these regions does not alter proteins, but it can perturb the networks governing protein expression
With the HGP draft in hand, the discovery of non-protein-coding elements exploded. So far, that growth has outstripped the discovery of protein-coding genes by a factor of five, and shows no signs of slowing. Likewise, the number of publications about such elements also grew in the period covered by our data set. For example, there are thousands of papers on non-coding RNAs, which regulate gene expression.Alexander J. Gates, Deisy Morselli Gysi, Manolis Kellis & Albert-László Barabási, “A wealth of discovery built on the Human Genome Project — by the numbers” at Nature
To see how significant a change this is, consider a blast from the past:
[…The late] Dr. Susumu Ohno [1928 – 2000], writing in the Brookhaven Symposium on Biology in 1972 in the article “So Much ‘Junk DNA’ in our Genome” is credited with originating the term. As anyone can read below, he tried to (mistakenly) construct a scientific argument that the human genome can not sustain more than a very limited number of “genes” and argued for “the importance of doing nothing” for the rest. Though his misnomer was doubted from the outset (see the first question after his presentation calling his arguments “suspect”), the misnomer lived for a generation, in spite of ample evidence that it was false. The reason is, that “facts don’t kill theories, only theories that exceed obsolete dogma can kill old theories. “The Principle of Recursive Genome Function”, heretofore the only concise interpretation how directly amino-acid-coding regions (formerly called “genes”) work together with intronic and intergenic sequences, carrying much auxiliary information that is perused in fractal recursive iteration, only appeared in 2008. There may be other mathematical algorithmic theories for genome function explaining why and how “Junk DNA” is anything but “Junk” – this author will be pleased to list them – Pellionisz_at_JunkDNA.com
It’s a good thing for the Darwinians that they have always been able to afford top spin doctors via the tax dollars of people who are sceptical. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with to front this one.
See also: Did beliefs about junk DNA hinder the Human Genome Project? But wasn’t a vast pile of junk DNA supposed to be one of the Great Proofs of Darwinism in the DNA? Funny, no one suggests that the constant diminution of the pile is evidence against the theory that its presence was supposed to be evidence for. Now why do you think that might be?