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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hooray for Junk DNA

Today's Washington Post reports various studies showing the junk DNA is even more important than we thought.  To recap, at one point we thought it was junk -- not needed for anything; gradually we came to realize that some of it played some role in regulation of genes, and now we realize that it plays a really big role in regulation of genes.

So it's only "junk" in the sense that it's not the genes themselves; it doesn't code for proteins.  If you want to code a protein in a dish, all you need is the gene, not the junk (i.e. you work with cDNA, not gDNA).  But if you truly want to understand an individual person's genetic makeup, you NEED the junk DNA.


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