Over 90% of human genome is ‘junk’ DNA: Research

According to the researches at Oxford University, less than 9.5% of human DNA is functional. This is in contrast to the hitherto presumed theory that 80% of the human genome is of some biological importance.

The study uncovers that at present, a total of 8.2% (7.1 – 9.2%) of the human genome is functional. This figure is more than three times as much than is functional and shared between human and mouse. And even within that small percentage, some DNA can be found that performs more significant functions.

This finding contradicts another figure arrived at in 2012, when participants of the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project found that 80% of the human genome has some biochemical function.

There is a debate on the biochemical definition of “function”as many are of view that a DNA activity occurs does not mean it has a biological significance, the activity itself should have importance.

The foundation stone of the new definition proposed in the study is the ability of evolution to differentiate the sheep from the goats or we can say to unearth which activities matter and which do not.

As per scientists, throughout the evolution of various species from their common ancestors, mutations arise in the DNA and natural selection counteracts these alterations to preserve useful DNA sequences.

Except the functional DNA, the rest of our genome – over 90% seems to be residual evolutionary material, which is often termed “junk” DNA. But it doesn’t mean that it is garbage. As per researchers, this junk part might be useful one day.


Categories: International Current Affairs 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017