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