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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Max Leung, Nov 22, 2002.
Junk DNA Revisited - Silicon Valley startup claims to have unlocked a key to its hidden language
In all of my genetics classes, I've always thought that introns served some purpose. In fact, most of my professors thought likewise, they just didn't know what purpose the introns served.
This is reminiscent of the old notion that we only use a fraction of our brains, based on a lack of understanding of how much of the brain works.
This is very interesting indeed. I always had a hard time accepting the fact that there were whole sections of your DNA that were junk. Of course, I also wonder why exons exist to begin with anyways. It seems rather silly to transcribe whole sections of DNA only to modifiy them later into the RNA strands you need.
A good chunk (~1.5%) of our genome is actually the DNA of retroviruses (er, -virii?) that managed to transcribe themselves into our genome and stay. They get copied from generation to generation, but they don't get expressed. There are several complete retrovirus genomes contained within the human genome.
...food for thought
Re - Junk DNA - When I read this in the newspapers a few years ago, and about how close humans are genetically to fish, worms, etc, (just watch tv if you don't believe it), my reaction was - YIKES - thats probably where my soul is!
I like the "jumping genes" (technical term being retrotransponson) explanation better :p) Doesn't mention junk DNA in the below article but I remember them being discribed as possibly making up a large portion of the so call junk DNA in our genome in one of my upper year undergrad classes.
Yeah, the introns could also be "parasite DNA" whose sole purpose is to copy themselves into your genes, perpetuating themselves to the next generation. They don't need to serve any other particular purpose, but hey there is a slight chance they could have a positive effect on the host organize. Maybe it's another mechanism for "micro"-evolution?
On related news, I heard that the founder of Celera Genomics plans to create an organism "from scratch", by bunching together a bunch of DNA fragments. The press release basically stated he is looking for investors. Heh, sounds like a money-grab to me instead of real science. But, it would be cool if they make a Natasha Henstridge clone (with the icky tentacles!)...
I dunno guys. Everytime I drive around here, or stand behind some people at an ATM machine, I'm more and more convinced that there is a lot of junk DNA out there.
The question is, are those people human?
Some of them can be pretty cute though...I want one as a pet!