30 April 2006

The value in keeping junk

It seems that one of our big technical companies has discovered that most DNA junk is not junk.

As reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), regions of the human genome that were assumed to largely contain evolutionary leftovers (called “junk DNA”) may actually hold significant clues that can add to scientists’ understanding of cellular processes. IBM researchers have discovered that these regions contain numerous, short DNA “motifs,” or repeating sequence fragments, which also are present in the parts of the genome that give rise to proteins. ¶ If verified experimentally, the discovery suggests a potential connection between these coding and non-coding parts of the human genome that could have a profound impact on genomic research and provide important insights on the workings of cells.

I hope that the many kilos I appear to have “evapourated” with surgical assistance a couple of months ago were not such, since they amounted to about 30-odd percent of my current mass — although, light-heartedly, it could possibly explain at least some of my sense of humour, especially — as makes a bizarre kind of sense — in subsequent days.

1 comment:

Leon Brooks said...

Most unquined?

Paul Wayper’s insightful comments on this prompted me, in my terribly predictable fashion, to ask something like: “Why would a quine be necessarily insufficient?”

An itinerary of living critters and even some mineral-like formations are quite quinish in behaviour and seem to suit the criteria quite well (except, in the mineralistic case, junk DNA would not be so common).