Not Junk After All: Non-Protein-Coding DNA Carries Extensive Biological Information

Jonathan Wells
2013 Biological Information  
In the 1950s Francis Crick formulated the Central Dogma of molecular biology, which states (in effect) that DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us. By 1970, however, biologists knew that the vast majority of our genome does not encode proteins, and the non-protein-coding fraction became known as " junk DNA." Yet data from recent genome projects show that most nuclear DNA is transcribed into RNAs, many of which perform important functions in cells and tissues. Like protein-coding DNA,
more » ... oding regions carry multiple overlapping codes that profoundly affect gene expression and other cellular processes. Although there are still many gaps in our understanding, new functions of non-protein-coding DNA are being reported every month. Clearly, the notion of "junk DNA" is obsolete, and the amount of biological information in the genome far exceeds the information in protein-coding regions.
doi:10.1142/9789814508728_0009 fatcat:cqojl25q7redvdbjqx3bwgmfya