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Less than 10% of our DNA has functional role


Posted on Friday, 25 July, 2014 | Comment icon 126 comments

How much of our DNA is functionally useful ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christoph Bock
Scientists now believe that over 90% of our DNA may be little more than 'biological baggage.'
There is a common myth that we only use 10% of our brains but when it comes to our DNA this claim may actually be true. New research conducted by scientists at Oxford University has revealed that a large percentage of the DNA in our bodies may be evolutionary leftovers that serve little purpose.

"Scientifically speaking, we have no evidence that 92% of our genome is contributing to our biology at all," said senior scientist Gerton Lunter. The 8.2% of our DNA that is considered "functional" is the part that plays a sufficiently important role to be conserved by evolution.

Some of the leftover "baggage" DNA is thought to have originated from ancient viruses that inserted their genetic material in to ours before mutating over the course of thousands of years.

Despite this however even our non-functional DNA should never be entirely dismissed.

"We cannot simply ignore the remaining 90% of the genome that is not evolutionarily conserved," said MIT computational biologist Manolis Kellis. "Evolution can tell you whether something is important or not important, but it doesn't tell you what that something actually does."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (126)

Tags: DNA

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #117 Posted by cormac mac airt on 9 August, 2014, 17:40
There is no proof that 20% recovered DNA can prove something to be human. 20% of the minimum required Y Chromosome DNA to be used in making an informed decision still makes it Y CHROMOSOME DNA, which means that it is human male. The letdown here is that 20% is not enough to determine what Y Chromosome DNA haplogroup the Starchild belonged to. That you want to pretend to know otherwise is irrelevant. As to nuclear DNA and while Pye attempted to give it his own spin he states, and geneticists already new this at the time, the following: In 2010, dozens of the Starchild's nuclear DNA fragments we... [More]
Comment icon #118 Posted by mickeymudge on 9 August, 2014, 21:08
20% of the minimum required Y Chromosome DNA to be used in making an informed decision still makes it Y CHROMOSOME DNA, which means that it is human male. The letdown here is that 20% is not enough to determine what Y Chromosome DNA haplogroup the Starchild belonged to. That you want to pretend to know otherwise is irrelevant. As to nuclear DNA and while Pye attempted to give it his own spin he states, and geneticists already new this at the time, the following: Which means that there is insufficient nuclear DNA to make any kind of informed decision as to what the full nuclear genome would be ... [More]
Comment icon #119 Posted by cormac mac airt on 9 August, 2014, 22:07
I see, and you know for a fact that 20% of DNA recovered proves the rest isn't alien, why again? 20% of the Y Chromosome DNA recovered was THE ONLY DNA of said type that was recovered. You can't make a claim based on DNA that does not exist. You can, however, make a claim based on the DNA that does actually exist, which was Y Chromosome DNA, which is human. An informed decision cannot be made with the 80% unknown especially when they are clearly admitting that there are base pairs that aren't human for sure. An informed decision CAN be made based on the 20% to determine what biological family ... [More]
Comment icon #120 Posted by mickeymudge on 10 August, 2014, 1:29
20% of the Y Chromosome DNA recovered was THE ONLY DNA of said type that was recovered. You can't make a claim based on DNA that does not exist. You can, however, make a claim based on the DNA that does actually exist, which was Y Chromosome DNA, which is human. An informed decision CAN be made based on the 20% to determine what biological family and species a test sample belongs too, however attempting to make a decision beyond the level of species, in this case meaning exact paternal haplogroup/subgroup, couldn't be determined with only 20% at that time. Any "admission" of results being non-... [More]
Comment icon #121 Posted by QuiteContrary on 10 August, 2014, 1:58
I have no doubt that you have over nine doctors. And with that one I spewed mocha frappe (which does not add to body weight, btw, its all my extra DNA) all over my keyboard!
Comment icon #122 Posted by cormac mac airt on 10 August, 2014, 4:27
Are you mathematically challenged, or you don't understand that 100% of that chromosome was recovered. 100% of the Y Chromosome DNA has never been recovered, which is why a Y-DNA Haplogroup has never been assigned to the Starchild Skull. When you can prove to me, or science that 20% of a chromosome... It's not just a chromosome, it's a Y-DNA Chromosome of sufficient length to determine it's human but beyond that bears no further specific information. Haplogroups are determined from mtDNA, NOT from nuclear DNA like the Y chromosome. Y-DNA is not nuclear DNA, contrary to what you'd like to belie... [More]
Comment icon #123 Posted by mickeymudge on 10 August, 2014, 16:19
100% of the Y Chromosome DNA has never been recovered, which is why a Y-DNA Haplogroup has never been assigned to the Starchild Skull. It's not just a chromosome, it's a Y-DNA Chromosome of sufficient length to determine it's human but beyond that bears no further specific information. Y-DNA is not nuclear DNA, contrary to what you'd like to believe, and does have haplogroups as seen here: http://www.isogg.org/tree/index.html There are three forms of DNA and not two. Those being Mitochondrial DNA/mtDNA, Y Chromosome DNA and Nuclear DNA. None of the three are the same thing. To make any kind of... [More]
Comment icon #124 Posted by cormac mac airt on 10 August, 2014, 19:22
However it doesn't matter as y chromosome is extracted from the mtdna which only holds matrilineal history, In essence you're making the claim that since some male chromosome was, or at least 20% of, was extracted from mtdna that it proves the embrio to be male. Which again shows that no, you really don't know the difference between Y-DNA, mtDNA and nuclear DNA. Y-DNA IS NOT extracted from mtDNA, it's separate DNA. Leaving it open to the possibility of containing some alien DNA. It's also possible it contains velociraptor DNA, but I wouldn't count on it. Y-DNA, You're never going to be able to... [More]
Comment icon #125 Posted by loki720 on 14 September, 2014, 14:58
Um...im going to throw my 2 cents worth in here. I have a nephew with clover skull. The doctors had to break his skull three times before it would grow into a more nornal shape. And its still sadly very mis-shapen. But its better. 200 years from now...or more...will someone dig him up and say hes an alien descendant? I hope not. I know his mom and dad. But mickeymudge...there are ppl on here that will decimate you with nothing more then scientific proof anf sheer intelligence.... your fighting a losing battle wiyh your alien thing. And further more do you really suppose aliens stopped in for a... [More]
Comment icon #126 Posted by mickeymudge on 14 September, 2014, 15:34
Um...im going to throw my 2 cents worth in here. I have a nephew with clover skull. The doctors had to break his skull three times before it would grow into a more nornal shape. And its still sadly very mis-shapen. But its better. 200 years from now...or more...will someone dig him up and say hes an alien descendant? I hope not. I know his mom and dad. But mickeymudge...there are ppl on here that will decimate you with nothing more then scientific proof anf sheer intelligence.... your fighting a losing battle wiyh your alien thing. And further more do you really suppose aliens stopped in for a... [More]


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