There's nothing in the paper about junk DNA and nothing about the overall organization of the human genome. Indeed, the tone of the paper is exactly what you would expect from a group of scientists who know that parts of noncoding DNA are involved in gene regulation.
But here's what the press release from the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute says [New technique identifies novel class of cancer's drivers].
Sieving through 'junk' DNA reveals disease-causing genetic mutationsHere's a few facts that you need to keep in mind.
Researchers can now identify DNA regions within non-coding DNA, the major part of the genome that is not translated into a protein, where mutations can cause diseases such as cancer.
Their approach reveals many potential genetic variants within non-coding DNA that drive the development of a variety of different cancers. This approach has great potential to find other disease-causing variants.
Unlike the coding region of the genome where our 23,000 protein-coding genes lie, the non-coding region - which makes up 98% of our genome - is poorly understood. Recent studies have emphasised the biological value of the non-coding regions, previously considered 'junk' DNA, in the regulation of proteins. This new information provides a starting point for researchers to sieve through the non-coding regions and identify the most functionally important regions.
- In spite of what the press release says, we understand a great deal about the 98% of our genome that doesn't encode protein.
- We've known about regulatory regions for half a century. It's simply not correct to imply that our knowledge is "recent."
- No knowledgeable scientist ever said that all non-coding regions were junk in spite of what the press release says.
- The paper does not provide a "starting point" to identify functionally important regions. We already have a pretty good idea about which parts of the noncoding genome are functional and which parts aren't.
Note: It took the IDiots less than 24 hours to exploit the stupidity of the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute. See: Helpful for non-Darwinists: Uses of junk DNA.
Khurana, E., Fu, Y., Colonna, V., Mu, X.J. et al. (2013) Integrative annotation of variants from 1,092 humans: application to cancer genomics. Science 2013 [doi: 10.1126/science.1235587]