A team of 400 scientists from around the world reported that "junk DNA" — parts of DNA that do not carry instructions for making proteins, and that make up the bulk of genetic material — plays a role in regulating genes. The new study debunks a long-held theory that "junk DNA" was virtually useless, and posits that it actually plays a vital role in switching genes on and off, coordinating their behavior, and otherwise regulating their activity. The discovery is considered a major breakthrough in genetic science, and could pave the way for explaining the origins of diabetes, heart diseases, psychiatric conditions, and more. The findings are the product of five years of research by a group called the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, or Encode, and the group's research was published in Nature and other journals.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 'Having it all' has officially jumped the shark
- Did Republicans overshoot on the Ebola panic?
- 10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week