Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trace Dominguez of Discovery News Says 98% of Your Genome Is Junk

Theme Genomes & Junk DNAI happened to stumble on this video where Trace Dominguez (@trace501) promotes the idea of junk DNA based on the C-value Paradox—a version of the Onion Test. It's good that he tells the general public about junk DNA but it's bad that he equates "noncoding DNA" with "junk DNA." It's really silly to tell people that the only important part of your genome is the 2% that codes for proteins.

Just so you know, some of the important known functions of "noncoding DNA" are [What's in Your Genome?] ....

  1. Genes for functional RNAs like ribosomal RNA, tRNA, and a host of others.
  2. Regulatory sequences that control expression of all genes.
  3. Part of intron sequences.
  4. Origins of replication;specific sites where DNA replication begins.
  5. Telomeres.
  6. Centromeres.
  7. SARS or scaffold attachment regions; sites required to organize chromatin.
  8. Functional transposons or "selfish DNA."
  9. Functional DNA and RNA viruses.
Scientists believe that about 2% of our genome encodes proteins and about 8% has other functions. It is not true that all noncoding DNA is junk. No knowledgeable scientist ever said that.

I realize that the kind of presentation shown in this video doesn't lend itself to a detailed description of noncoding DNA functions but surely we can do better than this? Why not say that scientists have determined that genes make up about 2% of our genome and about 8% contains information necessary for the proper functioning of genes and chromosomes? The rest, about 90%, is thought to be junk?

98% of your DNA is junk