‘Junk’ DNA mystery solved

News Avalanche

One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure, but sometimes, trash is just trash.

So-called junk DNA, the vast majority of the genome that doesn’t code for proteins, really isn’t needed for a healthy organism, according to new research.

“At least for a plant, junk DNA really is just junk — it’s not required,” said study co-author Victor Albert, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Buffalo in New York.

While the findings, published Sunday (May 12) in the journal Nature, concern a carnivorous plant, they could have implications for the human genome as well. Genes make up only 2 percent of the human genome, and researchers have argued in recent years that the remaining 98 percent may play some hidden, useful role.

Trash or treasure

For decades, scientists have known that the vast majority of the genome is made up of DNA that doesn’t seem…

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This entry was posted in Science.

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