Junk DNA not Required for Healthy Plants: Study

Junk DNA not Required for Healthy Plants: Study

According to a new research, the genomes that do not code for proteins are not required for a healthy organism.

Study co-author Victor Albert, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Buffalo in New York, said that junk DNA is just a junk and not required at least for a plant.

The findings were published on May 12 in the journal nature. It suggested that a carnivorous plant could have implications for the human genome as well. The researchers have argued in recent years that while only two percent of the human genomes are made by genes, remaining 98% may play some hidden and useful role.

Scientists have known for decades that the vast majority of the genome was made up of DNA that did not seem contain genes. They neither appeared to turn genes on or off. However, researchers have debated in recent years whether junk might be a misnomer and if this mysterious DNA might play some role.

A massive project, ENCODE, aimed to uncover the role of the 3.3 billion base pairs, or letters of DNA, in the human genome that do not code for proteins. It revealed that about 80% of the genome appeared to have some sort of biological activity, like affecting whether genes turn on.

The findings concluded that junk DNA is not required for healthy plants and may have the same implications for other organisms, like humans.

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