Proponents of intelligent design (ID) have long predicted that many of the features of living systems which are said to exhibit “sub-optimal” design will, in time, turn out to have a rationally engineered purpose. This is one of several areas where ID actively encourages a fruitful research agenda, in a manner in which neo-Darwinian evolution does not. One such area, and a field for which I have long held an inquisitive fascination for, is the subject of so-called “junk DNA,” and the non-coding stetches of RNA which are transcribed from them.
Skepticism of the “junk DNA” paradigm is not a phenomenon which is limited to proponents of ID. This popular view of the genome — while still resonating as the conventional view among neo-Darwinian thinkers — has also been challenged by John Mattick of the University of Queensland and Jim Shapiro of the University of Chicago.
Earlier this month, an article appeared in the journal Cell by a Spanish team. The article announced the discovery of the ability of long non-coding RNA, which are often encoded in DNA near genes known to be important to both stem cells and cancer, to serve as enhancer elements (which promote gene expression).
According to the paper’s Abstract: Read More>>>