Here's what David Brown and Hristio Boytchev published a few days ago:
‘Junk DNA’ concept debunked by new analysis of human genome.
Most of a person’s genetic risk for common diseases such as diabetes, asthma and hardening of the arteries appears to lie in the shadowy part of the human genome once disparaged as “junk DNA.”This is wrong. Most of our genome is still junk in spite of what the ENCODE Consortium says.
Indeed, the vast majority of human DNA seems to be involved in maintaining individuals’ well being — a view radically at odds with what biologists have thought for the past three decades.
Those are among the key insights of a nine-year project to study the 97 percent of the human genome that’s not, strictly speaking, made up of genes.
The Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, nicknamed Encode, is the most comprehensive effort to make sense of the totality of the 3 billion nucleotides that are packed into our cells.
The project’s chief discovery is the identification of about 4 million sites involved in regulating gene activity. Previously, only a few thousand such sites were known. In all, at least 80 percent of the genome appears to be active at least sometime in our lives. Further research may reveal that virtually all of the DNA passed down from generation to generation has been kept for a reason.
“This concept of ‘junk DNA’ is really not accurate. It is an outdated metaphor,” said Richard Myers of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama.
Myers is one of the leaders of the project, involving more than 400 scientists at 32 institutions.
Another Encode leader, Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Britain, said: “The genome is just alive with stuff. We just really didn’t realize that beforehand.”
“What I am sure of is that this is the science for this century,” he said. “In this century, we will be working out how humans are made from this instruction manual.”
Who is Richard Myers and where did he get the idea that the concept of junk DNA is an outdated metaphor? Does he have an explanation for all the evidence his statement refutes?
Here's the important question. Who is going to take responsibility for this PR fiasco?