Junk DNA

Ian A. York iayork at panix.com
Wed Apr 19 12:57:55 EST 2000


In article <38FDEF85.EB9BD992 at netinfo.ubc.caX>,
Austin P. So (Hae-Jin) <haejin at netinfo.ubc.caX> wrote:
>So tell me...how do you actually draw the line? "Junk" implies that it is
>completely unnecessary...and in order to come to that conclusion, particularly

First: No one in the field actually *calls* it junk DNA.  That's a term of
popularizers and high school teachers.  There are just 39 articles cited
in Medline that use the term; without bothering to look at all of them,
the majority use the term in order to point out that it's not a good term.  
(By comparison, the term "transposon" is used over 4000 times.)

Given that, the answer should be obvious:  There's no need to draw a line
between "junk DNA" and other DNA, because not only is "junk DNA" a
meaningless term, it's not one that's used.  

>for eukaryotes where more "junk" DNA exists, you need a crapload of genomic
>sequence data from a number of organisms...and these simply do not exist yet.

I don't follow your logic.  How would comparing genomes tyell you if
something is or is not functional?  For example, alu elements are
primate-specific; coparing to other genomes isn't going to tell you
anything about what (if anything) they do in primate genomes, and finding
that they're absent in virtually all eukaryotic genomes won't tell you
that they aren't functional.
-- 
    Ian York   (iayork at panix.com)  <http://www.panix.com/~iayork/>
    "-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
     very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England




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