At least 80% of the human genome is functional, scientists now say, based on a genetic survey called ENCODE that may force reassessment of what a gene is.
The big news in human genetics this week is the publication of results by the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) consortium, “the most ambitious human genetics project to date,” and what it reveals about function in the human genome. When the human genome was first published, scientists were surprised that only about 3% of it coded for proteins. That was before they knew about all the coded information in the “epigenome,” which includes RNA transcripts that regulate the code. The new results show that at least 80% of the human genome is, in fact, functional, rendering the evolutionary notion of “junk DNA” (leftovers from our evolutionary past) incorrect. Evolutionists themselves are writing the “eulogy for junk DNA.”
There is so much buzz about this story that came out in Nature this week, all we can do is list some of the more prominent headlines. References to Nature are from the 26 September 2012 issue, volume 489, no. 54. Popular reports in the news media are too numerous to list.
- Nature’s news feature “ENCODE: The Human Encyclopaedia” by Brendan Maher begins, “First they sequenced it. Now they have surveyed its hinterlands. But no one knows how much more information the human genome holds, or when to stop looking for it.”
- Evolution is mentioned in some of the Nature papers, but after notions of “evolutionarily conserved” and “evolutionary constraints” are removed (which refer to lack of evolution), what is left is mostly assumption rather than discovery. In Nature’s summary article “Genomics:ENCODE Explained,” one mention of evolution was not particularly helpful to Darwinists: “Why evolution would maintain large amounts of ‘useless’ DNA had remained a mystery, and seemed wasteful,” Barroso wrote. “It turns out, however, that there are good reasons to keep this DNA.” Then Barroso listed some of the good things the non-coding DNA does. In the section “Evolution and the Code,” two of the authors stashed most of the understanding in the future: “many aspects of post-transcriptional regulation, which may also drive evolutionary changes, are yet to be fully explored.” The other three authors did not mention evolution.
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