Thursday, November 09, 2006

Show of hands... how many knew it wasn't really junk?

In my last post I mentioned "junk DNA". If you don't know what that is... briefly, a lot (and by "a lot" I mean most) of our DNA seems to be non-coding or, it doesn't directly result in proteins. With the sequencing of the genome came a revelation on the order of Copernicus... (remember he said that the sun didn't revolve around the earth - which apparently downgraded our view of ourselves in the universe.) Our genome isn't much different from other beings on our planet, well, except for all the junk DNA. Apparently we have a lot more of it. Given that little piece of knowledge we've actually started looking at what junk DNA might be.

An article in (you can't see the link unless you have a subscription but here it is anyway) talks about what all this junk might actually be for:

'They found that these stretches of non-coding DNA tend to lie near genes involved in brain-cell function — specifically, in building connections between brain cells. This suggests that the non-coding DNA pieces might orchestrate the wiring of our brains'

How interesting is that, the junk DNA is likely to be responsible for how our brains are hooked up. Go figure.