Skip to comments.Mouse Study Shows 'Junk DNA' Is Actually Required (article)
Posted on 01/17/2014 8:20:17 AM PST by fishtank
Mouse Study Shows 'Junk DNA' Is Actually Required by Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D. *
It was once believed that the regions in between the protein-coding genes of the genome were wastelands of alleged nonfunctional junk DNA. However, we now know that these previously misunderstood regions are teeming with functional activityand a new study shows they are actually required for life.1
The genome of humans and other animals is composed of more than just DNA sequences that produce proteinsthere are also many other types of sequences that do not code for proteins. The non-protein-coding genes are diverse, with some being very short and others being quite long. In fact, the long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are actually very similar to protein-coding genes in their regulation and genomic structure.2,3 These lncRNAs are found all over the genome, in between protein-coding genes as well as inside them. Some even overlap protein-coding sequences.
The many different types of lncRNAs researched have been shown to be involved in gene regulation, chromosome structure, protein production, and other cellular processes. In addition, a variety of new studies is also showing that lncRNAs are key players in development and disease. However, the specific nature of many lncRNAs has been difficult to fully ascertain even though their importance has been clearly correlated with many cellular processes and traits.2,3
In the extensive analysis of protein-coding genes over the past decade, researchers have bio-engineered strains of micecalled knockout micewith artificially created mutations in specific genes. Because mammals like mice have two sets of chromosomes, one from the father and one from the mother, it is possible to mutate a single copy of a gene and perpetuate the mutation by carefully breeding the mice and studying the effects. To more fully examine the role of lncRNAs in growth and development, researchers are using this same technique to knock out specific lncRNAs genes one by one.
In this new study, researchers selected only lncRNAs found completely outside the genomic regions associated with protein-coding genes; these are called long intergenic noncoding RNAs, or lincRNAs (a subset of lncRNAs).1 They also carefully screened the lincRNAs to make sure that none of them associated with ribosomes (protein-producing machinery in the cell) to produce small proteins, which some lincRNAs do.4 Thus, the final set of 18 different lincRNAs were strictly non-coding RNAs that performed some sort of regulatory function. These were then used to create knockout mice for each lincRNA gene.
Three of the 18 lincRNA gene knockouts showed lethality and were associated with the development of important tissues in many different organs, including lungs, heart, testes, brain, thymus, stomach, colon, and brain. One lincRNA gene was shown to be a key regulator of the earliest stages of embryo development before any organs are even visible. Other lincRNA mutants were not lethal but still caused severe growth and developmental problems, including difficulties in the early stages of brain formation.
While many evolutionist naysayers have tried to play down the recent discoveries of pervasive genome functionality, their task is clearly becoming much more difficult as research progresses. Interestingly, the critics of pervasive genome functionality are those who are typically sitting on the sidelines in the evolution vs. creation argument and are not the real players doing the research. Widespread functionality in the genome is not the result of random mutational processes but instead comes from intelligent design and complex engineering. Even little mice bear witness to this fact.
Sauvageau, M. et al. 2013. Multiple knockout mouse models reveal lincRNAs are required for life and brain development. eLife. 2: e01749.
Rinn, J. L. and H. Y. Chang. 2012. Genome regulation by long noncoding RNAs. Annual Review of Biochemistry. 81: 145-66.
Clark, M. B. et al. 2013. The dark matter rises: the expanding world of regulatory RNAs. Essays in Biochemistry. 54: 1-16.
Tomkins, J. 'smORFs': Functional Little Genome Gems Confront Evolution. Creation Science Update. Posted on October 14, 2013, accessed January 9, 2014.
* Dr. Tomkins is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and received his Ph.D. in genetics from Clemson University.
Article posted on January 15, 2014.
Thank you for sharing an article written by a layman with about as much understanding of the subject as you have.
“it was once believed that the regions in between the protein-coding genes of the genome were wastelands of alleged nonfunctional junk DNA. However, we now know that these previously misunderstood regions are teeming with functional activityand a new study shows they are actually required for life.”
This doesn’t surprise me at all. Nothing in Creation is “junk.”
(mosquitoes, black flies and earwigs aside, LOL! ;) )
Seriously, though—it takes quite a bit of hubris for a human being to state that something he or she doesn’t understand is merely “junk” and not worthy of attention.
Lots of folks flinging the word hubris around.
Lots of folks don’t understand the scientific method.
Painfully, painfully true. Amen
No ne got a Nobel Prize for junk DNA.
The article you link to isn’t really correct in it’s description.
That Nobel Prize was for determining that genes have introns and exons and are spliced after being transcribed in to RNA before they are translated in to protein.
The introns are spliced out and these introns are what the article was referring to as junk DNA.
Junk DNA, though, is a lot more than the introns, which would be a small percentage of junk DNA.
The idea behind junk DNA was that all this extra DNA that did not code for proteins was probably some sort of buffer against mutations.
You can read what that Nobel Prize was for at the link below. It was for the discovery of Gene structure and processing.
“Are you so uninformed that you think life scientists continue to hold the junk DNA hypothesis as viable?”
There was quite a high-handed article criticizing ENCODE which stated:
We urge biologists not be afraid of junk DNA. The only people that should be afraid are those claiming that natural processes are insufficient to explain life and that evolutionary theory should be supplemented or supplanted by an intelligent designer (Dembski 1998; Wells 2004). ENCODEs take-home message that everything has a function implies purpose, and purpose is the only thing that evolution cannot provide. Needless to say, in light of our investigation of the ENCODE publication, it is safe to state that the news concerning the death of junk DNA has been greatly exaggerated.
It was quite an angry defense of junk DNA titled:
On the Immortality of Television Sets: Function in the Human Genome According to the Evolution-Free Gospel of ENCODE
There is a surprisingly strident number of scientists who have been quite negative toward the ENCODE project, which is interesting to see and rather surprising.
we think we’re so smart when we just keep proving we’re stupid.
assuming some dna is junk b/c we don’t know what it does. it must be junk.
assuming certain organs and structures are junk/leftover vestigials b/c we don’t knmpow what they do. we assume it’s junk. like the appendix, coccyx.
maybe a true expert is one who learns stuff but doesn’t let what he knows cloud and bias his/her ability to keep an open mind and not make unsupported assumptions based almost entirely on their ‘learned’ reputations. saing ‘we don’t know yet’ what something does is a valid answer and doesn’t make you an idiot for not having a more definitive answer.
I’m not sure if your comment was meant as an insult; I do understand the scientific method, I believe.
I just think a true scientific researcher wouldn’t use the term “junk” to describe something he or she doesn’t understand.
I normally don’t wade into threads like this. I appreciate science and all the gifts, including better health, living conditions, the exploration of the world around us and beyond, etc., scientific research has given us. I also believe in God. I don’t understand how or why it all came about, but I cannot believe that this world is some sort of accident.
And now I’ll back away from this thread, with all due respect, DManA. :)
Our Creator does not waste life it all has a use even though we can not comprehend it.
When it comes to bombastic evolutionists,
the repentance of arrogance past
is few and far between.
To be clear, “Junk DNA” is a term used primarily by lay writers in the popular press.
Other than these posts celebrating ignorance from the ICR, and a few knuckleheads in the media, I don't see the term "junk DNA."
I don't see the term "junk DNA."
“To be clear, Junk DNA is a term used primarily by lay writers in the popular press.”
As I looked back over the thread, I began to understand that—thank you. I’m a little slow today. :)
I guess no one would come home after a long day of research and say, “Guess what honey? I made some real progress working with my junk today.”
Oh gosh, I think I just stepped in it again. LOL. ;)
He seems to get his panties in a wad anytime someone disses the theory of evolution - which btw does not follow the scientific method b/c it is history based and no one can re-create thousands of years [or longer] of elapsed time.
They often claim natural adaptation and mutations are all that is needed for macro-evolution but it has never ever been observed and still zero missing links.
Here’s a link I found from a fellow freeper yesterday that once again discredits evolution. In light of the fact 99.9% of all animals now being extinct the correct terminology is devolution.
Evolution is not observable [aside from micro evolution = natural adaptation], repeatable nor falsifiable. It’s no longer hard science when all their ‘major accomplishments’ are a mixture of wild ass guesses, assumptions, fabrications, lies and outright fraud.