Form and function: The debate over junk DNA

The following is an edited excerpt.

Science is at the mercy of its language.

One enduring debate has been resurrected by ENCODE, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements — an ongoing multimillion-dollar project to catalogue the functional elements of the human genome. A headline-grabbing claim, first made in this publication last September, was that roughly 80% of human DNA had been ascribed some “biochemical function” thanks to the efforts of more than 440 scientists (The ENCODE Project Consortium Nature 489, 57–74; 2012).

That percentage is remarkably high, in part because of a broad definition of ‘function’.

View the original article here: Form and function

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