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The dark side of junk DNA?

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From ScienceDaily:

The stretches of DNA between genes, littered with repeating sequences, were once considered the “junk of the genome,” but scientists are learning that some of this junk is far from harmless clutter.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center report in the journal Cell Reports that certain short, repetitive sequences of DNA, or “junk,” play an important role in the development of Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone and soft tissue cancer that occurs most commonly in children and adolescents.

“Some people may still think of these non-coding sequences as junk; that they don’t really do anything but act as hangers-on to the more famous parts of the genome,” said the study’s senior author Ian J. Davis, MD, PHD, a pediatric oncologist and researcher at UNC Lineberger and the Denman Hammond Associate Professor in Childhood Cancer at the UNC School of Medicine. “But we found that repetitive elements contribute to cancer development for Ewing sarcoma based on traits that they share with immature cells.” Paper. (public access) – Nicholas C. Gomez et al. Widespread Chromatin Accessibility at Repetitive Elements Links Stem Cells with Human Cancer. Cell Reports, November 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.10.011 More.

Myth of Junk DNA Obviously, junk does not have a “dark side,” unless you think that the stuff in your closet that you should have taken to the thrift will ambush you.

Seriously, a lot of time has been wasted on Darwinian claims about junk DNA. It is good we are now starting to get more of the real story, even the parts of it we don’t like.

See also: Our junk DNA hard at work: “Pseudo-pseudo genes” division


All junk, no junk, who’ll give a buck for junk – thoughts on junk DNA

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Non-Coding RNA — Open Access Journal
Non-Coding RNA (ISSN 2311-553X) is an international open access journal on non-coding RNA research dealing with elucidating the structure, function and biology of regulatory non-coding RNAs. ncRNA is published quarterly online by MDPI.
http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ncrna About Non-Coding RNA Aims
Non-coding RNA (ISSN 2311-553X) is an open access journal which provides an advanced forum for research studies on non-coding RNAs and their regulatory roles. It publishes primarily original research papers, short reports, communications, snapshots and conference reports. Our aim is to encourage scientists to publish their experimental and theoretical results in as much detail as possible. There is no restriction on the length of the papers. The full experimental details must be provided so that the results can be reproduced. We also encourage the publication of timely reviews and of commentaries on hot topics of interest to the non-coding RNAs community.
http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ncrna/about Dionisio

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