'Junk DNA' Intelligent Design

Viruses hijack “junk” (non-coding) RNA, turns out many non-coding functions “have not been identified”

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vesicular stomatitis virus, micrograph

From Nicholas S. Heaton & Bryan R. Cullen at Nature:

Long non-coding RNAs (non-coding RNAs more than 200 nucleotides long) have roles in many aspects of cell biology4,5. In the nucleus, they are involved in transcriptional regulation and remodelling of chromosomes, and in the cytoplasm, they regulate microRNA function as well as the translation of mRNAs to generate proteins. But there are scores of lncRNAs whose functions have not been identified, so there are potentially many more roles to uncover.

If it is indeed true that viral replication and normal host-cell physiology have major differences in terms of the metabolic intermediates and enzymes they require, then exciting possibilities for the development of broadly acting antiviral therapies clearly exist. More generally, the discovery that GOT2 is regulated by lncRNA-ACOD1 highlights not only the complexity underlying the regulation of key physiological processes by lncRNAs, but also the intimacy of the interactions that occur between viruses and their hosts.More.

Signature Scarlet 70 Luxury <em>Chocolate</em> Collection Darwinians are likely going to regret coining terms like “junk DNA.” Our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon writes to say,

Remember Dan Graur and the debate about “junk DNA”? That if we permit the ENCODE consortium to claim 80% of non-coding DNA is useful, then Darwinists have lost a game to ID? Here’s a Nature article, conceding the game:

“Long non-coding RNAs (non-coding RNAs more than 200 nucleotides long) have roles in many aspects of cell biology4,5. In the nucleus, they are involved in transcriptional regulation and remodelling of chromosomes, and in the cytoplasm, they regulate microRNA function as well as the translation of mRNAs to generate proteins. But there are scores of lncRNAs whose functions have not been identified, so there are potentially many more roles to uncover.”

Perhaps someone should send Dan a condolences card.

Oh dear. Possibly a gift basket too, at this time of year. Chocolates?

See also: Rob Sheldon on the battle underlying “junk DNA”

and

Junk DNA: Dan Graur (junk!), ENCODE team (not junk!), and the science media

Viruses? Get to know more viruses: See also: Why viruses are not considered to be alive

Another stab at whether viruses are alive

Phil Sci journal: Special section on understanding viruses

Why “evolution” is changing? Consider viruses

The Scientist asks, Should giant viruses be the fourth domain of life? Eukaryotes, prokaryotes, archaea… and viruses?

Viruses are alive.

and

Are viruses nature’s perfect machine? Or alive?

2 Replies to “Viruses hijack “junk” (non-coding) RNA, turns out many non-coding functions “have not been identified”

  1. 1
    mullers_ratchet says:

    Remember Dan Graur and the debate about “junk DNA”? That if we permit the ENCODE consortium to claim 80% of non-coding DNA is useful, then Darwinists have lost a game to ID? Here’s a Nature article, conceding the game

    There is some confusion here. lincRNAs make up less than 10% of the genome, and there is no reason to think most of them are “useful”. So, I’m not sure how Nature is giving up the game here?

  2. 2
    critical rationalist says:

    Junk DNA is DNA that has no known coding function. This includes DNA that was thought code, but currently has no known coding function. Nor does it say it has no function at all. Just that it doesn’t directly code in any way we know of.

    The very idea of evolution is that things that doesn’t have a known function at the moment can have a function can in the future.

    And then there is the entire can of worms this opens up for the supposed irreducible complexity of the translation system. If there is all this unknown functionality in RNA, it might be contain enough unknown functionally to implement an entire lower-fidelity replicator entirely out of RNA (DNA free), which would be exactly the kind of gradation in replication fidelity the constructor theory of life suggests.

    Not to mention that viruses are yet another concrete example.

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