The code that makes us is at least 75 percent rubbish, according to a study that suggests most of our DNA really is junk after all.
After 20 years of biologists arguing that most of the human genome must have some kind of function, the study calculated that in fact the vast majority of our DNA has to be useless.
[T]hroughout the 2000s, a number of studies purported to show that junk DNA was nothing of the sort, based on demonstrating that some tiny bits of non-coding DNA had some use or other. These claims proved popular with creationists, who were struggling to explain why an intelligently designed genome would consist mostly of rubbish.
[However,] if most of our DNA is functional, we would accumulate a large proportion of harmful mutations in important sequences. But if most of our DNA is junk, the majority of mutations would have no effect…Taking into account estimates of the mutation rate and average prehistorical reproduction rate, [the researchers] calculated that only around 8 to 14 per cent of our DNA is likely to have a function.
[Read the full study here]
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