Finally, Junk DNA, like the genome, is crammed with repetitious elements and superfluous text. Bite-sized chapters parade gee-whizz moments of genomics. Carey's The Epigenetics Revolution (Columbia University Press, 2012) offered lucid science writing and vivid imagery. Here the metaphors have been deregulated: they metastasize through an otherwise knowledgeable survey of non-coding DNA. At one point, the reader must run a gauntlet of baseball bats, iron discs, Velcro and “pretty fabric flowers” to understand “what happens when women make eggs”. The genome seems to provoke overheated prose, unbridled speculation and Panglossian optimism. Junk DNA produces a lot of DNA junk.
The idea that the many functions of non-coding DNA make the concept of junk DNA obsolete oversells a body of research that is exciting enough. ENCODE's claim of 80% functionality strikes many in the genome community as better marketing than science.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Nature reviews Nessa Carey's book on junk DNA
Genetics: We are the 98%. Here's the important bit ...