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Junk DNA

07 January 2013, 11:05

JUNK DNA

Background

Since the discovery of the DNA molecule scientists have identified that only a small portion of a creature's DNA (around 3% in humans) possess a coding function. In the 1970s, evolutionists began calling the rest of it "junk DNA", saying this collection of useless evolutionary debris in order to fit the Darwinian paradigm. This mind-set unfortunately discouraged active research and exploration in that field.

Dawkins, 2009: “DNA… it’s full of junk… which is just as Darwinism predicted… how embarrassing for those creationists who say it shouldn’t be!”

Decades later

Researchers are finding that the "junk" does vital work. Some of this DNA plays a role in turning genes on and off at the right moments in a developing embryo. Other bits separate coding and regulating sections, like punctuation marks in writing, so that DNA is not a long run-on sentence. Other bits called Alu elements, found only in primates, can be spliced in or out during RNA processing to make different versions of the same gene.

 The "junk" label discouraged research into this part of the genome for many years; who would want to waste their time studying it? An article in the 7 September 2012 issue of Science was titled "ENCODE project writes eulogy for junk DNA". "This week, 30 research papers... sound the death knell for the idea that our DNA is mostly littered with useless bases.

A decade long project, the Encyclopaedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), has found that 80% of the human genome serves some purpose". "The ENCODE effort has revealed that a gene's regulation is far more complex than previously thought, being influenced by multiple stretches of regulatory DNA located both near and far from the gene itself and by strands of RNA not translated into proteins, so-called non-coding RNA."-- Pennisi, Elizabeth. 7 September 2012. Science, Vol. 337, pp. 1159-1161. 

The ENCODE project is not the last word on the genome. As time goes on, expect researchers to find that more and more of the remaining genome is vital information code for the construction and function of humans.

Greatest show on earth

Dawkins, 2012: “DNA… it’s not full of junk… which is just as Darwinism predicted… nothing for the creationists to take advantage of here, move along!”

Looking closely at the Dawkins past and present quotes, one should consider his rationality. What is he pursuing: Hard science or showmanship ?

But they say: What is the use of having a mind if you cannot change it ?

Conclusions

-        - Don’t dismiss anything as meaningless simply because the function is not immediately apparent.

-        - Keep on expecting specific multi-layered optimized functional design in studies of Biological systems in the future as opposed to the randomness, trial and error and lucky chance that the Darwinian paradigm suggests.

- Keep on expecting to find that the designs in nature exhibit stunning complexity that far exceeds our own capabilities of accumulated scientific knowledge since the first civilizations.


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