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“Junk” genome region implicated in celiac disease

Non-coding RNA of Inc13 gene in red /U Basque Country

From ScienceDaily:

Key gene in development of celiac disease has been found in ‘junk’ DNA

40% of the population carry the main risk factor for celiac disease but only 1% develop the disease. A newly found gene that influences its development has been found in what until recently has been known as ‘junk’ DNA. Celiac disease is a chronic, immunological disease that is manifested as intolerance to gluten proteins present in wheats to an inflammatory reaction in the small intestine that hampers the absorption of nutrients. The only treatment is a strict, life-long, gluten-free diet.

This study confirms the importance of the regions of the genome previously regarded as ‘junk’ in the development of common complaints such as celiac disease and opens up the door to a new possibility for diagnosis. More. Paper. (paywall)

Note: The neo-Darwinian claim about “junk DNA” was that it does nothing (like the claimed vestigial organs), not that it was harmful. This study shows that Inc13 does something … harmful. So it is more a hazard than a pile of junk. We’ve lots to learn.

See also: Blocking “junk” DNA can prevent stroke damage


Darwin lobby reviewer: Junk DNA “helps creationists” (Actually, knowing the facts helps everybody.)

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Arthur Hunt, I was aware of Xist being discovered much earlier. I was in grad school at the time. ( I think there was an lncRNA in c elegans as well) As I recall, most people thought these were unusual examples, no one ( or not many people) thought they'd turn out to be major regulatory mechanisms. I knew someone who worked on xist and at journal club at least, he never suggested it might be a trend. REW
gpuccio, the only reasonable part of the exchange is the statement that much remains to be learned. I don't understand this compulsion to rewrite history. Arthur Hunt
Arthur Hunt and wd400: Xist was first described in 1991. The paper wd400 references was published in 1990. These are still just timid suggestions about the existence of RNA molecules not implied in translation and protein synthesis. But the idea that long non coding RNAs may be a widespread category of functional molecules, and the identification of specific regulatory functions for them, is certainly more recent. My statement was: "While the role of promoters and enhancers has been known for some time, I would say that the regulatory role of long non coding RNAs is a quite recent discovery, and much is still to be learnt about that." And REW's statement was: "Yes, lncRNAs are a form of regulation only discovered within the last 10 years." I think both statements are perfectly reasonable. gpuccio
Or H19 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC360709/, or back to the 60s when the prospect of more classes of functional RNA were discussed. wd400
Yes, lncRNAs are a form of regulation only discovered within the last 10 years. Xist anyone? Arthur Hunt
REW: I am happy with "non coding DNA". Junk is no more fashionable, not even in the most hard boiled darwinist circles. The point remains: what is the relationship between non coding DNA and function? Of course, it seems that neo darwinists are rather reluctant to acknowledge new and complex functions. I can understand them: they cannot explain practically anything of existing functions with their theory, therefore new and complex functions certainly do not help their cause! :) That is, however, a very sad position, given the huge amount of new complex functions which are elucidated daily, especially in the field of regulatory networks and epigenetics. I would say that the real point is not so much: "What percentage of non coding DNA will be found to be functional?" (although I do believe that it will be a lot of it), but rather: "How much regulatory function can be traced to non coding DNA?" That is a much more interesting question, and I think that we already have many partial answers to it. gpuccio
REW at 9, do the authors exert no influence whatever over what people say about their work? Part of the problem here is that, in a changing environment around evolution, many authors are content to take no role in questioning older terminology, which is the key reason it persists. News
gpuccio, Yes, lncRNAs are a form of regulation only discovered within the last 10 years. But to my point, did you notice the authors dont use the word 'junk' anywhere in the paper? REW
REW: While the role of promoters and enhancers has been known for some time, I would say that the regulatory role of long non coding RNAs is a quite recent discovery, and much is still to be learnt about that. A role of a lncRNA in the pathogenesis of celiac disease is certainly an important point. The following is from the Science issue where the paper is published: "The majority of human single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with increased disease risk map to noncoding regions of the genome. The nucleotide variations therefore cannot be directly related to changes in the function of proteins. Indeed, SNPs frequently localize to DNA regulatory elements such as enhancers or promoters, or within intergenic regions that are transcribed to produce long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). LncRNAs are RNA molecules longer than 200 nucleotides that do not encode proteins; in many instances, they regulate gene expression through diverse mechanisms. On page 91 of this issue, Castellanos-Rubio et al. (1) report that a relationship between the function of a lncRNA and the SNPs within its locus underlies celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes intolerance to gluten." gpuccio
Absolutely correct, News at 2. Darwinists once loved to call it "junk DNA" because it made for a good argument against design, i.e. a good designer would never employ so much waste in the design. It was ridiculously premature. Just another example of desperation in the Darwinist camp. Truth Will Set You Free
News I think thats true, but science writers abuse it. They apply the term incorrectly to any non-coding DNA REW
Peer: Well, I suppose non protein coding would be fine, but in a sense "non coding" is not wrong. It just means that those parts of DNA will not be translated according to the genetic code, and therefore will not generate proteins. Non coding DNA can certainly be functional, it can work in many ways, it is certainly transcribed, and its function, at least in some cases, could imply some form of symbolic code, but certainly not the classical genetic code which is used for translation. So, I think that "non coding" is not so wrong. gpuccio
Non-coding DNA is almost as bad as junk DNA, because it is not non-coding. Maybe it is not coding for proteins, but still it is coding. It is not-for-protein-coding DNA. Peer
REW at 1: The whole concept of "junk DNA" was a bad idea, and science writers did not invent it. News
This is an example of bad science writing. The Science Daily writer is using the "junk" DNA headline as a hook. It makes the work seem even more important if it overturns some long standing notion held by biologists. But no one ever thought all non-coding DNA was junk. In the 1950s Jacob and Monod discovered regulatory DNA. By the 1980s it was accepted that a large portion of animal evolution was due to changes in non-coding DNA and diseases caused by changes in non-coding DNA had been discovered. REW

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