Junk DNA might be the secret to our genome
but in our relative cognitive abilities?
The answer may just lie in what Dr Francis Crick, codiscoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, labelled as ‘Junk DNA’ in 1970.
At the time, this junk DNA appeared to hold no apparent purpose as it was non- coding (meaning that it did not code proteins and thus did not hold information pertinent to our structure as an organism).
But considering that this junk comprises roughly 97 per cent of our genetic structure, scientists have long speculated that, far from being useless, this junk yard of random DNA might just hold the key to the question of why we are human, and why a giraffe is a giraffe.
This comes as no great surprise to evolutionary biologists, most of who have long maintained that one hundred thousand protein coding genes would prove to be so complex as to be fatal for an organism, simply because the chances of offspring suffering extensive and life threatening mutations would be excessively high.
The jury is out for the time being as there is still much work to be done, but it would seem that geneticists will be up to their elbows sifting through the DNA equivalent of a rubbish dump for the foreseeable future.
But as they say, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’.
They may be more right than they ever knew.
PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL: The human genome is 98.5 per cent identical to that of a chimpanzee’s.
NEM CREATIVE DESIGNER email@example.com