iayork of Mystery Rays from Outer Space is upset about an article on retroviruses that appeared in The New Yorker [ “Darwin’s Surprise” in the New Yorker]. Here's what iayork says,
The whole “junk DNA” has been thrashed out a dozen times (see Genomicron for a good start). The bottom line? If you search Pubmed for the phrase “junk DNA” you will find a total of 80 articles (compare to, say, 985 articles for “endogenous retrovirus”); and a large fraction of those 80 articles only use the phrase to explain what a poor term it is. Scientists don’t use the term “junk DNA’. Lazy journalists use it so they can sneer at scientists (who don’t use it) for using it.Wrong! Lots of scientists use the term "junk DNA." Properly, understood, it's a very useful term and has been for several decades [Noncoding DNA and Junk DNA].
Yes, it's true that journalists often don't understand junk DNA and they are easily tricked into thinking that junk DNA is a discredited concept. The journalists are wrong, not the scientists who use the term.
It's also true that there are many scientists who feel uneasy about junk DNA because it doesn't fit with their adaptationist leanings. Just because there's controversy doesn't mean that the term isn't still used by it's proponents (I am one).
I'm sorry, iayork, but statements like that don't help in educating people about science. Junk DNA is that fraction of a genome that has no known function and based on everything we know about biology is unlikely to have some unknown function. Junk DNA happens to represent more than 90% of our genome and that's significant by my standards.