Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Non-Darwinian Evolution in 1969: The Case for Junk DNA

I've been having a discussion with Elizabeth Liddle in the comments to: Barry Arrington, Junk DNA, and Why We Call Them Idiots . I think it's important to understand why scientists first started thinking that most of our genome is junk. It's important to understand that these scientists were not Darwinists and their predictions were not based on an understanding of natural selection.

Let's look at a famous paper by Jack Lester King and Thomas Hughes Jukes.1 The title of the paper is "Non-Darwinian Evolution" and it was published 44 years ago in the May 16, 1969 issue of Science [read it at: Science 164:788-798].

The subtitle of the paper is "Most evolutionary change in proteins may be due to neutral mutations and genetic drift" but that's not what I want to talk about. This paper is among the first to predict the presence of large amounts of junk DNA in our genome. King and Jukes didn't call it "junk"—that term was introduced by Susumu Ohno in 1972—but that doesn't matter. When King and Jukes talk about "superfluous DNA" they mean "junk."

Here's the relevant part of the paper ...
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