of genes in primate

Joe Felsenstein joe at
Thu Feb 29 00:49:46 EST 1996

In article <495 at>,
Shane McKee <shane at> wrote:
>Jeffrey Mattox (jeff at writes:
>>This is the "C-value paradox."
>I don't see this as a paradox at all - it's just an interesting
>phenomenon. Any other thoughts? 

It used to be a paradox, before we knew about junk DNA, transposons, etc.
There was far more DNA in genomes than we could account for by genes.
That was the paradox.  There was also a population-genetic version of the
paradox too.  Calculations of the  mutational load showed that if all that
DNA was information-bearing, given reasonable per-base mutation rates,
we'd all be dead.

The discovery of all the different kinds of noncoding DNA resolved the
paradox.  Interestingly, the mutation-load argument is still relevant and
is a fairly powerful objection to most of our DNA being meaningful, in
the sense that it must be in that particular sequence.

Joe Felsenstein         joe at     (IP No.
 Dept. of Genetics, Univ. of Washington, Box 357360, Seattle, WA 98195-7360 USA

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