Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

junk DNA

How “useless junk” DNA switches on a target gene

From ScienceDaily: Researchers have captured video showing how pieces of DNA once thought to be useless can act as on-off switches for genes. These pieces of DNA are part of over 90 percent of the genetic material that are not genes. Researchers now know that this “junk DNA” contains most of the information that can turn on or off genes. But how these segments of DNA, called enhancers, find and activate a target gene in the crowded environment of a cell’s nucleus is not well understood. Now a team led by researchers at Princeton University has captured how this happens in living cells. The video allows researchers to see the enhancers as they find and connect to a gene to Read More ›

ENCODE: The many uses of “junk DNA”

Two days ago, a big meeting in Maryland of researchers into non-coding DNA (alleged “junk DNA” ) wrapped up, and people have been writing to us about the various, so-far unofficially publicized findings that friends have told them about. One researcher whose specialty is orphan genes observed that although we have similar genes to mice, the DHS regions in the DNA associated with these genes feature only 5% similarity between mice and humans. This is all the more peculiar because the eventual development of mice is very similar to that of humans even though so many differences in regulatory pathways exist. He was part of a research team that discovered this: Abstract: To study the evolutionary dynamics of regulatory DNA, we mapped Read More ›