Attentive viewers will note that this illustration – like Tomkins’ stock photo – is left handed.
Welcome to 2014! I hope you have all had time to settle in a little, and are ready to begin the year afresh. As always, in the event of an earthquake take cover under your desks and then exit through the doors at the front and back in an orderly fashion after the shaking ends. If there is a fire, leave immediately and do not panic. If both occur simultaneously, hope.
You remember how, back in September, there was much hype about how the release of data from the ENCODE project supposedly showed that junk DNA was “dead”? At the time many scientists had other ideas, and the idea of writing a paper disputing this was floated at least once. An important problem, however, was that the junk DNA claims were not themselves made directly in the published journal articles – could you really write a paper slamming statements made to the media? Over the last few months it’s been shown that this was no hurdle for some, with at least three ENCODE-critical papers having been published in that time: Continue reading →
A new type of DNA sequencing technology has been developed and used to identify and characterize key regions of the genome called “enhancer” sequences. These are novel DNA features that were once thought to be a part of the so-called “junk DNA” regions of the genome. These key elements are now proven to be part of the indispensable and irreducibly complex design inherent to proper gene function for all types and categories of genes.
Jeff Tomkins’ New Technology Reveals More Genome Complexity is one of those articles that hits you with the nonsense almost from the beginning. Deconstructing that opening paragraph we find that the first sentence is perfectly accurate. There do exist in the genome regions, called enhancers, which promote the expression of the gene(s) they are associated with. Enhancers have been known for some time – they were even taught in my biology class last year, so they must be ancient – but a new paper in Science talks about a new method for identifying these regions. Continue reading →
Today’s DpSU, by Brian Thomas, is called Newly Found Biochemical Is Essential for Life. With a title like that you could be forgiven for concluding that the élan vital had been discovered. However, the implications of the headline seems to oversell the real discovery more than a little. The angle that Mr Thomas is actually going for is, oddly enough, a variation on the most typical anti-Junk DNA argument. Continue reading →
Both the evolutionist and creationist communities are abuzz with the latest results from 30 simultaneously published high-profile research papers, proclaiming that the human genome is irreducibly complex and intelligently designed.
Does deleting “Junk DNA” in laboratory studies, such as in mice make a difference? Interestingly, a colleague of mine just recently pointed out a paper in which exactly this type of research was undertaken. In fact the study is a few years old, and was done in 2004. However, after a search of the literature, I have not been able to find anything similar.
Because this paper, however, shows up prominently on the web as some sort of proof for “Junk DNA”. I felt that a brief review of the facts that were actually discovered in the research are in order.