Tuesday, October 30, 2007
DriPs and the Inefficiency of Translation
There's been a lot of talk recently about junk DNA and the possibility that large parts of it may, after all, have a function. Some of this speculation revolves around reports that most of the junk DNA is transcribed [Junk RNA] [Transcription of the 7SL Gene].
I believe that a great deal of this transcription is accidental and artifact. It's consistent with the idea that DNA replication, transcription, and translation are complex processes that are error-prone. Not every transcript, for example, has to be functional.
Iayork over on Mystery Rays from Outer Space has picked up on this theme in order to discuss mistakes in translation and the Drips hypothesis [RNA, protein, and information]. Check it out. There's more coming.
Students need to be aware of the fact that biology is messy. Some things just happen by mistake and we shouldn't fall into the trap of assuming that every peptide and every bit of RNA is made for a purpose. Life isn't as well-designed as some people think.