Abstract: Pseudogenes are defined as regions of the genome that contain defective copies of genes. They exist across almost all forms of life, and in mammalian genomes are annotated in similar numbers to recognized protein-coding genes. Although often presumed to lack function, growing numbers of pseudogenes are being found to play important biological roles. In consideration of their evolutionary origins and inherent limitations in genome annotation practices, we posit that pseudogenes have been classified on a scientifically unsubstantiated basis. We reflect that a broad misunderstanding of pseudogenes, perpetuated in part by the pejorative inference of the ‘pseudogene’ label, has led to their frequent dismissal from functional assessment and exclusion from genomic analyses. With the advent of technologies that simplify the study of pseudogenes, we propose that an objective reassessment of these genomic elements will reveal valuable insights into genome function and evolution. – Cheetham, S.W., Faulkner, G.J. & Dinger, M.E. Overcoming challenges and dogmas to understand the functions of pseudogenes. Nat Rev Genet (2019) doi:10.1038/s41576-019-0196-1 Published: 17 December 2019
The friend who sent us the abstract also quotes from the paywalled paper:
In addition to the untested hypothesis that evolution has left us with a dichotomy between genes and pseudogenes, the term pseudogene itself asserts a paradigm of non-functionality through its taxonomic construction. Pseudogenes are defined as defective and not genes. This point is highlighted because impartial language in science is known to inherently restrict the neutral investigation between conflicting paradigms. In the case of pseudogenes, the term itself is constructed to support the dominant paradigm and therefore limit, consciously or unconsciously, scientific objectivity in their investigation.
It was in fact Darwinism that prevented the role of pseudo genes from being properly recognized.
As another friend puts the matter, “This is an important paper for documenting that not only is pseudogene function is far more prevalent than we often recognize but also that evolutionary “dogma” has prevented investigation into the function of pseudogenes. The paper’s message is that pseudogenes probably have many more functions than we think and only the false view that they are “junk” prevents us from finding them.”
Remember how important pseudogenes (evolution’s huge library of useless junk) once were?
By now, Darwin could paper his study with goodbye notes.