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.


  1. 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.
  2. The peer review began before the data even came in. Predictably, Mike disagreed with my methods, and Leonid Kruglyak asked for more statistics.
  3. 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.