Brace yourselves for a flood of biblical proportions which is about to gush from various creationist websites — especially the Discoveroids. As you know, they’ve been obsessed with junk DNA. Its existence is an affront to the cosmic genius of their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who flawlessly designed your DNA. They insist that it contains no junk — none whatsoever.
Whenever research indicates that a bit of it is functional, the Discoveroids rejoice — although they themselves never conduct such research. We’ve written about this several times. Some examples are: Discovery Institute Says Junk DNA Is Vital, and also Casey: 50% Junk DNA Is Proof of Design.
We found an article today at PhysOrg that is certain to thrill the Discoveroids: Scientists discover a role for ‘junk’ DNA. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have determined how satellite DNA, considered to be “junk DNA,” plays a crucial role in holding the genome together. Their findings, published recently in the journal eLife [A conserved function for pericentromeric satellite DNA, subscription required], indicate that this genetic “junk” performs the vital function of ensuring that chromosomes bundle correctly inside the cell’s nucleus, which is necessary for cell survival. And this function appears to be conserved across many species.
There’s cheering in the dingy Discoveroid offices. Then PhysOrg says:
This pericentromeric satellite DNA consists of a very simple, highly repetitive sequence of genetic code. Although it accounts for a substantial portion of our genome, satellite DNA does not contain instructions for making any specific proteins. What’s more, its repetitive nature is thought to make the genome less stable and more susceptible to damage or disease. Until fairly recently, scientists believed this so-called “junk” or “selfish” DNA did not serve any real purpose.
Wikipedia has an article on Satellite DNA, but they don’t say what percentage of our genome it is. Okay, back to PhysOrg. They tell us:
“But we were not quite convinced by the idea that this is just genomic junk,” said Yukiko Yamashita, research professor at the LSI and lead author on the study. “If we don’t actively need it, and if not having it would give us an advantage, then evolution probably would have gotten rid of it. But that hasn’t happened.”
We’ll let you read PhysOrg’s description of what the researchers did. This is the end of the article:
The similar findings from both fruit fly and mouse cells lead Yamashita and her colleagues to believe that satellite DNA is essential for cellular survival, not just in model organisms, but across species that embed DNA into the nucleus — including humans.
Despite the inevitable reaction from creationists, we’re not certain how significant this actually is to the junk DNA issue. It would seem that any junk DNA is inconsistent with the creationist claim that our DNA is perfectly designed. Even if there were no junk DNA, which seems unlikely, it wouldn’t point to the existence of a designer. Aside from that, this new research contrasts with some other research we reported nine months ago — see Hey Discoveroids: Our DNA Is At Least 75% Junk.. We’ll let the researchers battle it out, while we await the inevitable reaction from creationists.
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