Friday, July 24, 2015

Five things John Parrington should discuss if he wants to participate in the junk DNA debate

It's frustrating to see active scientists who think that most of our genome could have a biological function but who seem to be completely unaware of the evidence for junk. Most of the positive evidence for junk is decades old so there's no excuse for such ignorance.

I wrote a post in 2013 to help these scientists understand the issues: Five Things You Should Know if You Want to Participate in the Junk DNA Debate. It was based in a talk I gave at the Evolutionary Biology meeting in Chicago that year.1 Let's look at John Parrington's new book to see if he got the message [Hint: he didn't].

There's one post for each of the five issues that informed scientists need to address if they are going to write about the amount of junk in your genome.

1. Genetic load
John Parrington and the genetic load argument
2. C-Value paradox
John Parrington and the c-value paradox
3. Modern evolutionary theory
John Parrington and modern evolutionary theory
4. Pseudogenes and broken genes are junk
John Parrington discusses pseudogenes and broken genes
5. Most of the genome is not conserved
John Parrington discusses genome sequence conservation

1. It hasn't seemed to help very much.

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