Poll on noncoding DNA and "junk"
Introduction The ENCODE papers were published this week! Twitter and blogs lit up with some debate over whether or not one of the main headlines: the "junk" DNA image/perception should be laid to rest, as 80% of the bases in our genome had been shown to have some biological activity.
- Methods I decided to test the hypothesis put forward by Mike Eisen and others, specifically stated on Mike's blog as "As the authors undoubtedly know, nobody actually thinks that non-coding DNA is ‘junk’ any more." In my interactions with the general public, I find I get asked about junk DNA with some frequency, so I disagree with Mike. But, we are scientists; let's do the experiment.
- — Chris Gunter (@girlscientist)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:18:56Tweeps, many of us are regular employers of the scientific method. Let us conduct an experiment, because @mbeisen and I are curious. [1/2]
- — Chris Gunter (@girlscientist)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:19:47If you are a non-genomicist, can you tell us if you thought/were taught much of the genome was “junk”? Will compile results. [2/2]
- — Chris Gunter (@girlscientist)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:20:29I ask this because in my interactions with non-genomicists, I often get asked what the junk DNA is doing. My colleagues here do as well.
- The peer review began before the data even came in. Predictably, Mike disagreed with my methods, and Leonid Kruglyak asked for more statistics.
- Results Answers ran in two camps. The first could be summarized as "yes indeed I was taught that much of the genome was junk, at least at some point." I note that this camp has a higher proportion of non-genomicists.
- — Peter Kampschroeder (@PeterKampschroe)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:22:56@girlscientist I was taught that most of the genome was "junk"/non-coding-it didn't make proteins, and nobody was really sure what it did.
- — Travis Chapman (@travischapman)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:26:45@girlscientist bio prof in 2007 taught that it was mostly junk, but said it's possible this perspective on non-coding elements was changing.
- — Leila Jamal (@leilajamal)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:32:15
- — BlogGenetics (@BlogGenetics)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:34:22@girlscientist Was taught that we didn't KNOW what "junk" DNA was for/was doing but not that it was KNOWN it truly "junk".
- — Trena Cormier (@NorthernAutumn)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:39:07@girlscientist beyond junk- in hs in 1988 I was taught cells only do 'stuff' during mitosis, rest of time 'nothing much happened in cell'.
- — Dark Star (@ColdDimSum)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:38:25@girlscientist It was (and is still) called 'junk DNA', but my understanding was that purpose was unknown rather than completely useless
- — Rachael Ludwick (@r343l)Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:40:30@girlscientist My vague belief was scientists thought that a lot of DNA didn't *seem* to do anything (popularly called 'junk'). But also...
- — John Ratnaswamy (@JohnRSports)Thu, Sep 06 2012 08:01:25@girlscientist If I remember right, 1988 sci fi novel Neverness by David Zindell built partly around idea that "junk" DNA actually critical.
- — Cortney Chapman (@cadence019)Thu, Sep 06 2012 08:19:22@girlscientist while taught 'junk DNA' in school, nothing else I've come across in science is pointless. Maybe not understood well yet?
- — Sandlin Seguin (@SandlinSeguin)Thu, Sep 06 2012 08:23:35
- — Stephen Granade (@Sargent)Thu, Sep 06 2012 08:27:35@girlscientist I was taught that there was a lot of junk DNA; later reinforced by SF that took it as gospel. (non-genetics guy here)
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