The researchers were trying to figure out what “makes us human”:
In a new study, stem cell scientists at the Lund University, Sweden, explore the role of non-coding regions of the genome—previously deemed to be functionless “junk” DNA—and find humans and chimpanzees use a part of their non-coding DNA in different ways. This they claim affects how and when the human brain develops.
Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives. Despite significant similarities in our DNA and few differences in our protein-coding genes, the human forebrain is larger and more complex than that of the chimpanzee…
Jakobsson says, “The basis for the human brain’s evolution is genetic mechanisms that are probably a lot more complex than previously thought, as it was supposed that the answer was in those two percent of the [protein-coding] genetic DNA. Our results indicate that what has been significant for the brain’s development is instead perhaps hidden in the overlooked 98 percent, which appears to be important. This is a surprising finding.” The underlying impetus for the study lies in the need to understand what makes us human. Jakobsson says, “I believe that the brain is the key to understanding what it is that makes humans human. How did it come about that humans can use their brains in such a way that they can build societies, educate their children, and develop advanced technology? It is fascinating!”News, “Human and Chimp Brains Differ in Non-Coding Regulatory DNA” at Genetic Engineering & BioTechnology News (October 12, 2021)
Here’s the pdf.
You may also wish to read: Term “junk DNA” critiqued at journal. But now remember the history! “The days of ‘junk DNA’ are over…”? So the house is clearly supporting this move away from the Darwinian position. Oh yes, let’s not forget that “junk DNA” was very much a Darwinian position. Most or all of the Darwinian Bigs signed onto junk DNA as part of their thesis about the unguided nature of life. The big question will doubtless be put off for now: Why does it only count if Darwinian predictions are right but never if they are wrong?