We know that we don’t “use” a lot of the genes inside our cells, but our DNA is strung with relics. But what are those relics, and what if they come back to haunt us? Here’s what you’re carrying around, and why it’s not as irrevocably part of the past as you think it is.
Geneticists at Oxford University are making the astounding claim that a mere 8.2% of our DNA does something biologically important. That means upwards of 90% of the human genome is "junk" — a discovery that could dramatically hasten genetic research.
The term "junk DNA" has been under attack lately, but a pair of geneticists are now making the case for this much maligned and misunderstood concept. There are significant chunks of our DNA, they argue, that really are utterly useless.
This image is a CT scan of a mouse's face — but not just any mouse. Scientists at Berkeley have identified thousands of small DNA regions responsible for influencing the development of facial features — and they used this insight to modify the faces of embryonic mice. The question now is, are humans next?
In the human genome, only about 2% of our DNA are genes involved in coding the proteins essential to our existence. The other 98% is noncoding DNA, often called junk DNA because there's no clear purpose for it. That name might seem a bit pejorative, but a new study of the bladderwort genome suggests it's oddly…
Yesterday we told you about ENCODE, the recently concluded mega-project that created a kind of Encyclopedia Britannica of human gene function. Among the initiative's many findings was that so-called "junk DNA" — outlier DNA sequences that do not encode for protein sequences — are not junk at all, and are in fact…
Humans and chimpanzees share up to 99% of the same DNA, which is particularly remarkable considering we don't look anything like each other. The reason behind our vast difference in appearance is all thanks to our seemingly useless so-called "junk" DNA.
Any part of the genome that doesn't contain genes is called "junk DNA", repeated bits of instructions that were thought to serve no purpose. But now we've discovered that junk DNA is actually vital to the survival of the genes.